Don't Let Lions Become Extinct: Don't Lift the Ban on Hunting Lions and Leopards!
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Lifting a ban on the hunting of lions and leopards in Zambia will not help with its conservation. In fact, it will only hurt the country in the long run. If there's no wildlife left for tourists to see, that will certainly put a damper on the tourism industry. Also, eliminating these apex predators will put the ecosystem out of balance. Here are some facts about the importance of top predators:
According to Lion Alert, numbers for lions in Zambia in 2012 were as follows:
Zambia holds six populations of lions, two of which are shared with neighbouring countries. The Liuwa Plains population contains only three remaining individuals in 3,866km2 from five that were reintroduced from Kafue National Park. The populations in Sioma Ngwezi (4,155km2) and Nsumbu (5,650km2) are each believed to contain less than 50 lions.
The Kafue population is estimated to contain 386 lions in 56,898km2.
The population defined as the Luangwa lion area that also encompasses parts of Malawi is estimated at 574 in 72,992km2.
The final population defined as the Mid-Zambezi lion area that also encompasses parts ofMozambique and Zimbabwe is estimated to contain 755 lions in 64,672km2.
As far as leopards, according to the Zambian Economist (March 10, 2010), "The actual number of leopards in Zambia is not known, as there has been no national survey due to financial constraints. Therefore, the leopard population is described qualitatively, basing on postulation such as hunting statistics and observations made by wildlife law enforcement officers, tour operators and tourists."
Across Africa, both lion and leopard numbers are decreasing rapidly. In relation to lions, this is primarily due to habitat loss, poaching, trophy hunting, and man/animal conflict over livestock. According to filmmaker and conservationist Dereck Joubert, lions could be extinct before we know it: http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/04/17/about-lions-extinction
However, it is not too late to prevent this. As of this year, lions are still listed as "Vulnerable" on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. While there's estimated to be only 20,000 lions left in the world, according to a recent study, there's been an increase in the Asiatic lion population over the past five years. This could also happen in Africa if the necessary steps are taken.
Zambia is going for the quick fix of their economic troubles by taking the blood money of trophy hunters. They should instead devise a long-term strategic economic plan that will cause the country to flourish or just maintain economic stability.
Lions and leopards are beautiful animals, but the lion in particular represents the majesty and pride of Africa. By lifting the ban on the hunting of this iconic beast, is Zambia signifying that it's lost all majesty, all pride, all hope in itself? Making money by allowing hunters to go after the King of the Beast is tantamount to putting a small band aid on a profusely bleeding large wound.
Please watch the attached film, The Last Lioness, which is the touching story of Lady Liuwa, the last lioness on the Liuwa Plains of Zambia. Her journey is a lonely one, but not without hope. Let's let Zambia know that we do not want to see these beautiful creatures go into extinction due to blood-thirsty hunters and government greed.
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