Trophy Hunting Is Driving The African Lion Into Extinction

THERE ARE LESS THAN 10,000 WILD LIONS LEFT IN AFRICA

A leading global Lion conservationist has warned of the impending extinction of lions in Africa where the overall population has fallen below 10 000 from a peak estimate of over 20 000 eight years ago.

In a presentation to the British parliamentary committee debating proposals to ban the importation of African wildlife trophies into the United Kingdom, African Lion specialist Pieter Kat said a recent field study by the organisation Lion Aid, revealed worrying prospects for the survival of African Lions:

“Our conclusion is that there are less than 10,000 wild Lions left in Africa. We base that number on the latest information from the ground,” Kat said.

“The current estimate of 20 000-30 000 Lions (in Africa) as stated by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (Red List) of 2016 is grossly inaccurate and urgently needs to be updated.”

In Africa, wild Lion populations are mostly found in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.

Smaller clustered populations also exist in Uganda, Mozambique, Eswatini and Angola.

While Elephant population estimates can be done effectively by aerial survey, Kat said Lion population estimates can only be derived from small sample counts which are conducted using different techniques to ensure they are not misleading.

Kat said the IUCN 2016 African Lion population estimate was flawed because it included thousands of non-wild, captive-bred and fenced-off South African Lions in the final count.

“What we did in our latest study is to review the number of Lions in what are called lion conservation units,” he said.

“We went back to look at these conservation units in detail.

“Most people agree that Lions should be classified as endangered on the IUCN Red List.

“However, they are not. Instead, they are classified as ‘vulnerable’.

“One reason for this is that the IUCN partly based their estimates on 16 fenced Lion populations in Southern Africa, mostly in South Africa.

“Those fenced populations are not truly wild Lions.”

He said the IUCN estimate was also heavily influenced by trophy hunters who manipulated Lion census data to support their own claims that Lion populations are healthy enough to support trophy hunting business.

Kat said trophy hunting remains one of the biggest contributors to the decline of African Lion populations as well as the depletion of breeder gene pools through its deliberate targeting of big male Lions.

“In order to be able to develop an effective Lion conservation strategy for Africa, we need to know exactly how many Lions are where. We need to know how many lions exist in trophy hunting areas,” he added.

“The best hunting concessions in terms of tenders and bids all happen to be right on the borders of the national parks.

“We know that they are luring the Lions out of national parks to be killed in private hunting concessions, just like Cecil (in Zimbabwe) was.

“More hunting concessions in Tanzania and Zimbabwe are not being bid on anymore because they are no longer profitable. The Lions have all been shot out.”

According to Kat, the claims often made by the trophy hunting lobby to the effect that trophy hunting funds the conservation of African wildlife are grossly inaccurate and deliberately misleading:

“Trophy hunters are allowed to sit on the IUCN committee of lion experts.

“More and more people have been allowed into the group who were not primarily concerned with lion conservation but rather Lion utilisation.

“This causes problems, because whenever politicians want to make decisions on wildlife conservation, the first place they turn to is the IUCN.

“They view the IUCN as the organisation that supposedly has the knowledge and information about how to best conserve species in the wild.

“However, many of the “experts” that are being consulted are not the ones who have the right information.”

Kat said there is clear evidence that Lions are being badly affected by trophy hunting since the hunters select the best animals, which are often the biggest-maned male breeding Lions.

“A number of studies in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia have shown this.

“A hunter does not want a young male (although these were hunted in Tanzania when they ran out of the big males).

“The big-maned Lions hunters target are often the leaders in a pride. This way, trophy hunting results in heavy disruptions of Lion prides.

“The females do not produce cubs anymore because new males will come in and say, “that’s not my cub” and kill the cubs.

“The pride structure of Lions simply falls apart as a result of trophy hunting.”

To save Lions from extinction, Africa range states should adopt conservation strategies to save the biggest and the best remaining Lion cluster populations.

They also need to craft holistic conservation strategies that include the use of effective, tried and tested techniques to protect rural communities and keep livestock safe from predators in order to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

This article by Oscar Nkala was first published by The Standard on 7 August 2022.

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You can purchase a Ban Trophy Hunting Now tops (more styles and colours available) at Ban Trophy Hunting
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We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals. It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

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An American Dentist And Big-Game Hunter Found Guilty Of The Murder Of His Wife On An African Safari.

Larry Rudolp confessed killing his wife on an African safari in Zambia and collecting millions in life insurance.

An American dentist and big-game hunter was found guilty of murder in the shooting death of his wife on an African safari.

Lawrence Rudolph, 67, killed his wife, Bianca Rudolph, with a shotgun and defrauded multiple insurance companies, a federal jury found Monday. Rudolph cashed in more than $4.8 million in life insurance payments after her death almost six years ago.

Rudolph has maintained his innocence and said he believes the gun fired accidentally.

“I did not kill my wife. I could not murder my wife. I would not murder my wife,” Rudolph told jurors when he took the stand in his own defence at a federal trial in Denver last week.

The Phoenix couple shared a passion for big-game hunting and had travelled to the southern African nation of Zambia in September 2016 so Bianca Rudolph could add a leopard to her collection of animal trophies. They carried two guns for the hunt: a Remington .375 rifle and a Browning 12-gauge shotgun.

Two weeks later, as Bianca Rudolph was packing for the couple’s return home, she suffered a fatal blast from the Browning shotgun in their hunting cabin at Kafue National Park. Rudolph told investigators he heard the shot at dawn while he was in the bathroom and believed the shotgun accidentally went off as she was putting it in its case, court documents said. He told investigators he found her bleeding on the floor.

But federal prosecutors at Rudolph’s trial in Denver, where the insurance companies are based, described it as a premeditated crime. Prosecutors argued Rudolph killed his wife of 30 years for insurance money and to be with his girlfriend, Lori Milliron.

Defence attorney David Markus had argued that Larry Rudolph had no financial motive to kill his wife. In court documents, he noted that Rudolph owns a dental practice near Pittsburgh valued at $10 million.

“We are obviously extremely disappointed. We believe in Larry and his children,” Markus and fellow defence attorneys Margot Moss and Lauren Doyle told CNN in a statement after Monday’s verdict. “There are lots of really strong appellate issues, which we will be pursuing after we have had a chance to regroup.”

The jury also found Milliron, Rudolph’s girlfriend, guilty of being an accessory after the fact to murder, obstruction of justice and two counts of perjury based on her testimony before a grand jury, according to the Department of Justice.

Milliron, who was tried alongside Rudolph, said the couple had been in an open relationship, according to court documents. Milliron and Rudolph lived together from 2017 until his arrest last year, her attorney, John Dill, told CNN.

“We are disappointed in the jury’s verdict, but that is our system,” Dill said. “Lori Milliron is innocent and we will continue to fight to exonerate her.”

An embassy official expressed suspicion after the shooting, the FBI said

In court documents, investigators alleged Rudolph raised suspicions when he sought to quickly cremate his wife’s body in Zambia.

Rudolph scheduled a cremation three days after her death, according to court documents. After he reported her death to the US Embassy in the Zambian capital of Lusaka, the consular chief “told the FBI he had a bad feeling about the situation, which he thought was moving too quickly,” FBI special agent Donald Peterson wrote in the criminal affidavit.

As a result, the consular chief and two other embassy officials went to the funeral home where the body was being held to take photographs and preserve any potential evidence. When Rudolph found out the embassy officials had taken photos of his wife’s body, he was “livid,” Peterson wrote.

Rudolph initially told the consular chief that his wife may have died by suicide, but an investigation by Zambian law enforcement ruled it an accidental discharge.

Investigators for the insurers reached a similar conclusion and paid on the policies.

But forensic evidence showed Bianca Rudolph’s wounds came from a shot fired from at least two feet away, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court.

“At that distance, there is reason to believe that Bianca Rudolph was not killed by an accidental discharge as stated,” the complaint said.

US Attorney Cole Finegan welcomed the jury’s ruling.

“Bianca Rudolph deserved justice,” Finegan said in a statement. “We can only hope this verdict brings Bianca’s family some amount of peace.”

A friend of Bianca Rudolph’s asked the FBI to investigate

But federal investigators maintained the shooting was premeditated so that Rudolph “could falsely claim the death was the result of an accident.”

Rudolph orchestrated his wife’s death as part of a scheme to defraud life insurance companies and to allow him to live openly with his girlfriend, the FBI alleged.

Larry Rudolph was charged with foreign murder in the 2016 death of his wife.

Bianca and Lawrence Rudolph moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona about four years before her death. Rudolph’s dental practice remained in Pennsylvania, and he commuted back and forth from his Phoenix home.

Federal authorities got involved after a friend of Bianca Rudolph asked the FBI to investigate the death because she suspected foul play. The friend said Larry Rudolph had been involved in extramarital affairs and had a girlfriend at the time of his wife’s death.

Milliron worked as a manager at Larry Rudolph’s dental practice near Pittsburgh and told a former employee that she’d been dating him for 15 to 20 years, according to court documents. Milliron moved in with Rudolph three months after Bianca Rudolph’s death, court documents said.

What you can do to help animals in need:

Support ‘Protect All Wildlife’ by donating as little as £1 – It only takes a minute but it can last a lifetime for an animal in need. Thank you.

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals. It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

Everyone who donates will receive a Certificate of Appreciation as a thank you for supporting wildlife.

CERTIFICATE OF APPRECIATION

Dean Schneider Accused of Abuse But The Media And Lion Conservation Groups Miss The Bigger Picture!

DEAN SCHNEIDER

Captive Wildlife Watchdog has been writing articles about Dean Schneider since, well, since before he ever became a household name. Our first addressment of Dean Schneider occurred before he even possessed lions. We have continued to document his meteoric rise to stardom as a fresh-faced animal exploiter ‘rescuer’ who used his considerable wealth ‘gave up his considerable wealth’ to buy land and animals so that he could ‘rescue animals’ in South Africa and start his own private zoo ‘sanctuary’ called Hakuna Mipaka.

Captive Wildlife Watchdog knew, before Schneider became a star with nearly 7 million Instagram followers, that what Schneider was doing with his animals was exploitive, and we endeavoured from the moment he began promoting himself, to educate the public about this fact. Until now, at the end of April 2020, approximately 3-4 years after we first began discussing Schneider, CWW has been the only conservation group to even acknowledge his existence, much less question it.

No media outlets, or other conservation groups or foundations followed our lead when we began pointing out that what Schneider was trying to do was unethical. No one joined in the discussion about how falsely presenting oneself as Schneider was doing, how interacting with captive wild animals, and gaining fans through those interactions, while feeding them incorrect, or fractured information, was exploitive, and sent the wrong message to the public. Instead, viral articles and videos presenting falsely praising narratives about Dean Schneider–whose PR personnel were actually responsible for–ran rampant, and within only a few months’ time, Schneider went from a few hundred followers and fans, to several million. He now has over seven million fans and growing on Instagram alone.

Making it explicitly clear that Captive Wildlife Watchdog has been the sole voice discussing Dean Schneider, and calling out his exploitation isn’t about our ego, it’s about respecting the fact that we made every attempt to prevent Schneider from ever becoming the entity he now is.

CWW has tried, over the years, to encourage even larger, and more well-known entities to join us in discussing the exploiters we address on our own pages. CWW has tried, over the years, to explain to other conservation entities that they cannot “stay in their lane” and focus only on a micro-specific area and expect the public to grasp larger, more abstract concepts by extrapolation. That’s not how lay-folk with only a superficial understanding of conservation and captive wildlife situations absorb, and retain information. Humans in general do not make choices based in objectivity, but rather, on emotional attachment.

We always encourage our readers to go out and do their own research on a subject, rather than just taking CWW’s word for something. We always encourage our readers to go out and do their own research on a subject, rather than just taking CWW’s word for something. But when CWW is the only group discussing that something, or subject, it makes it impossible for readers who don’t have a deeper understanding of conservation to make an informed decision about whether or not an entity or group is ethical.

Similarly, when conservation groups suddenly comment on someone the public at large admires, without providing the historical context of issues documented by others (like CWW) it’s extremely easy for the public to dismiss any negative remarks or posts as simply “jumping on the bandwagon for attention” and subsequently disregard that information as inaccurate. And when other pages, like the EMS Foundation share links that do lead directly to CWW (we thank you for that) they simultaneously devalue that direct sharing of information when they accompany it with text like “It’s time to examine some of the Big Cat Saviour personalities in South Africa.”  As if doing that is a novel suggestion, rather than the very thing CWW has been actively and continually campaigning for all this time.

DEAN SCNEIDER REPEATEDLY PUNCHES A LION

In the last few days, Dean Schneider has made headlines, after a video showing him punching one of his lions went viral. CWW actually posted this video back on February 23. It subsequently received 40 shares, and almost 150 comments, but no greater public acknowledgement. This video wasn’t the first time Schneider has struck his animals. CWW has posted about his actions and training methods numerous times. It’s not uncommon for Schneider to swat and smack his lions (more on such methods later) and it’s not something he’s ever hidden. But now that the international media has obtained the story, and it’s being circulated widely (without any credit offered to Captive Wildlife Watchdog, for having repeatedly reported on animal exploitation, abuse, and issues regarding Schneider for the last few years) suddenly now others are weighing in with statements on Schneider as a ‘conservationist’.

Even Blood Lions has now made official posts addressing Schneider, stating that:

“Dean Schneider and similar “influencers” set an extremely poor example by perpetuating captive wildlife interactions, especially after SATSA have identified such activities as “unacceptable”.

There is no reason other than for veterinary purposes to interact with captive wildlife. This therefore begs the question of why such influencers insist on wildlife interactions, other than for self-interest and financial gain.

This individual and the facility are involved in nothing other than the commercial, and as seen in the clip, at times brutal, exploitation of wildlife. Centred on a selfish lifestyle choice, the facility, and so many others involved in similar activities, play no conservation or scientific role; they should be phased out.

Although Hakuna Mipaka’s website states that they don’t breed, Schneider has recently allowed one of his lionesses to become pregnant. Captive breeding however serves no conservation value and only adds to the already massive and problematic captive lion population in South Africa, which is estimated at 8000 – 12000. This is 3-4 times as many lions as in the wild.”

Thank you, Blood Lions, for repeating what CWW has been saying for years. Because we greatly respect BL, we have tagged them repeatedly in our past posts regarding exploiters like Schneider, Richardson, and others in SA who capitalize on captive bred lions for interactions. For example, Richardson’s purchase of six captive bred cubs from Ukutula Lion Farm, and his training of children to work with them in order to make a feature length film. Despite putting money directly back into the captive lion breeding industry, Richardson’s purchase of the cubs (now nearly adults) has been widely viewed by his fans as “rescuing” them, and the movie he made using those captive bred cubs has been called by supporters a huge effort in “lion conservation”. Yet Blood Lions has never publicly addressed Richardson’s actions, nor have they ever addressed Schneider’s until now. Perhaps if they had, Schneider would never have made it this far, with a huge cushion of 7 million fans to catch him even in the midst of accusations of animal abuse.

And even after posting such a straightforward statement, BL has responded to questions asking if they no longer support Richardson now, with the circumspect response:

“Blood Lions has never expressed support for nor condoned Kevin Richardson.”

Perhaps BL has never publicly advertised or endorsed Richardson, certainly not that we’ve ever seen. However, very often what a foundation doesn’t say or do speaks just as loudly as what they do say or do. BL has never suggested that Richardson is anything but the lion conservation hero millions view him to be, so why, when Richardson has repeatedly supported and referenced Blood Lions, would followers not presume that BL likewise endorses Richardson?

KEVIN RICHARDSON WITH ONE OF HIS LIONS. CREDIT: JACKIE BADENHORST

CWW was also recently tagged in a comment on a post in Volunteers in Africa Beware. Our long time readers might recall that ViAB is not a fan of CWW, and has attacked us several times because of our criticism of Kevin Richardson. Now ViAB has created a section devoted to Dean Schneider, and have made posts in regard to him. In response to the commenter who tagged CWW and expressed relief that ViAB had finally seen the light in regard to Schneider, ViAB responded that since Schneider didn’t take volunteers they’d been busy dealing with exploiters who did take volunteers. What ViAB isn’t acknowledging is the fact that take volunteers. What ViAB isn’t acknowledging is the fact that Schneider did, in fact, accept volunteers. He even advertised for them actively for the first two years or so he was around. And Captive Wildlife Watchdog reported on this fact repeatedly. It was only in response to CWW’s steady pressure that Schneider stopped taking volunteers in order to make himself a non-profit’ in an attempt to get CWW off his back.

We’d also like to note, that both these well respected, and well known groups have chosen to share mainstream media articles created amidst the recent viral stir which, aside from referencing the video of Schneider punching one of his lions, We’d also like to note, that both these well respected, and well known groups have chosen to share mainstream media articles created amidst the recent viral stir which, aside from referencing the video of Schneider punching one of his lions, contain numerous counts of false information the sharing of which only serves to further public confusion and actually makes Schneider more likable and relatable.

It would have been more informative for readers (and respectful to us as the only established conservation page addressing these exploiters) if these other pages had linked to CWW where there is a large amount of information devoted to Schneider. Again, this is not about trying to get credit, or a pat on the back, it’s about respect. CWW has tried repeatedly to engage others like Blood Lions in discussing exploiters who directly interact with their captive big cats, like Dean Schneider, and we have consistently and largely been brushed aside, and ignored. Now everything CWW has been devoted to reporting on, and educating the public about has become a front-and-centre topic–in no small part because CWW has been devoted to reporting on it, and we shared the video that started all of this back in February.

In focusing solely on Schneider’s physical strike on his lions, the mainstream media, and those conservation groups sharing the limited, and erroneous articles produced by it, are missing the In focusing solely on Schneider’s physical strike on his lions, the mainstream media, and those conservation groups sharing the limited, and erroneous articles produced by it, are missing the bigger picture, and picture, and bigger discussion, which must take place in order to achieve true change. If people didn’t idolize those who interact with captive wildlife, specifically in this case lions and big cats, then Schneider would never have possessed a lion to hit in the first place.

These CONservationists, who perpetuate big cat interactions, such as Kevin Richardson, Schneider, and Serio, along with others, all parrot some variation of the phrase “People protect what they love”. They profess to be spreading awareness and education by making the public fall in love with the captive wild animals they interact with.

But this ideology is fundamentally flawed from birth, for several reasons. It both establishes and reinforces the premise that humans literally aren’t capable of caring for, or conserving something they aren’t personally enamoured of. If the same rationale is applied to other areas, this would indicate that humans will not care for starving or sick people or animals they don’t have a personal attachment to, will not fund efforts to salvage artwork they don’t personally admire, will not partake in supporting relief aid to an area of the world they don’t personally care about, and so on and so forth. Not only is the proposition grossly disheartening, and completely inaccurate, but it also orients the entire ideology around how humans feel, making human wants and human needs the primary precondition which must be met and fulfilled by everything else, This then commodifies the captive wildlife involved as merely an asset to be used in achieving the goal of addressing human wants and human needs.

To this end, captive big cats held in naturalistic settings are substituted for wild big cats in actual wild settings, accompanied by rhetoric claiming that by loving and embracing these captive bred, captive held big cats, the general public will be able to conserve wild members of the same species. Captive bred lions have, effectively, become a beloved surrogate for the real deal, To this end, captive big cats held in naturalistic settings are substituted for wild big cats in actual wild settings, accompanied by rhetoric claiming that by loving and embracing these captive bred, captive held big cats, the general public will be able to conserve wild members of the same species. Captive bred lions have, effectively, become a beloved surrogate for the real deal, wild lions. And the continued breeding of captive lions, the continued use of them in interactions with their caretakers, represents a physical manifestation of the choice to embrace captive lions over, and instead of, wild lions. For every captive lion bred, ‘rescued’ and cared for, time, money, public devotion, effort, resources, etc. are diverted from the protection, and conservation of established wild lion populations, and the ever-shrinking wild habituate they live in. This is compounded by adored ‘heroes’ like Richardson, and Schneider justifying their purchase of captive bred lions as ethical rescues, worthy of supporting.

Billions of dollars are spent every year on tourism and ‘conservation’ which is focused solely on captive bred, captive held lions, while existing wild populations are poached, starved, and killed in human/lion conflicts. Scientific studies on wild lion populations struggle to gain funding, while studies attached to captive lions (like those bred by LionALERT and Ukutula) are readily funded and then used to support the breeding of more captive lions, as well as misinforming the public that it will all go to saving wild lions in wild spaces.

To use an old American phrase which was historically used in crass reference to women having sex before marriage “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Why spend thousands of dollars on an African safari with no guarantee of seeing actual wild lions in wild spaces, even in the handful of ‘hotspots’ which are highly trafficked, when you can go to a managed reserve and see captive bred lions in a large natural-but-fenced setting? Why spend years obtaining grants and monetary backing for scientific research on wild lions when your subjects could be killed by poachers, or farmers in conflicts, throwing your entire study off when you can just study captive lions in naturalistic captive settings and then extrapolate your data to be applied to wild lions? Captive bred, captive held lions (including those living on game reserves, not to be confused with nature reserves) have become a billion dollar industry of commodity, while wild lions in wild spaces have become ageing artefacts, fast fading from relevancy.

If we want to live in a world where wild lions still exist in wild spaces we absolutely must change the ideology that captive bred lions in captive situations can somehow fix the plight of wild lions in wild situations. The two are entirely separate issues. Interacting with captive lions cannot, and will not, save wild lions. This fact has been proven by the continued decline of wild lions in association with the continued rise in captive lions. It’s no longer open for debate. Captive lions are growing, and wild lions are dying.

As long as interacting with captive lions is excused and accepted, this trend will continue. It simply is not possible to play favourites, when it comes to interacting with captive big cats, and excuse the behaviour when carried out by one party while criticizing it from another.

 Per Blood Lions’ recent post regarding Dean Schneider:

 “Similar “influencers” set an extremely poor example by perpetuating captive wildlife interactions, especially after SATSA have identified such activities as “unacceptable”.

There is no reason other than for veterinary purposes to interact with captive wildlife. This therefore begs the question of why such influencers insist on wildlife interactions, other than for self-interest and financial gain.

This individual and the facility are involved in nothing other than the commercial, and as seen in the clip, at times brutal, exploitation of wildlife. Centred on a selfish lifestyle choice, the facility, and so many others involved in similar activities, play no conservation or scientific role; they should be phased out.”

Everything in this statement is 100% accurate.

Which means that Blood Lions should, ethically speaking, specifically name the “similar influencers” they’re referencing, in order to better education the public as to who they are. For example, Kevin Richardson. BL is a South Africa group, and Richardson is the preeminent influencer engaging in wildlife interactions which have been identified by SATSA as ‘unacceptable”. Let’s call a spade a spade here, shall we? It is more than beyond time for those who wish to actually end the perpetuation of captive wildlife interaction to bluntly and publicly make a stand against those promoting it, like Kevin Richardson.

If, indeed, interacting with captive big cats is done for “self-interest and financial gain” and is an example of a “selfish lifestyle choice” and that such facilities “play no conservation or scientific role; they should be phased out.” it would have been extremely beneficial for Blood Lions to public say so in a forthright manner when Kevin Richardson oversaw the purchase of six lions cubs from Ukutula Lion Farm, and then proceeded to spend three years training children to interact with them while making a feature length film about interacting with captive lions. Yet here we are, five years on, a young woman killed by one of those six captive bred, lions, trained to interact with a different young woman, and Richardson is comfortably ensconced with a new young pride of lions to continue interacting with for the next couple of decades, having faced no real backlash aside from that offered by CWW.

And what will happen after this media splash regarding Dean Schneider has passed? Will Blood Lions, and ViAB continue to discuss Schneider? Or will their vitally important voices disappear as quickly as they showed up?

Yes, CWW is being hard on this matter. Yes, CWW is being hard on this matter. Yes, CWW is being hard on this matter. We desperately need other conservation groups to stop playing politics and start educating the public in a whole-picture approach. We need them to stop turning a blind eye to big name, beloved, ‘experts’ and entities who do the very same thing people like Dean Schneider are doing. The public–as evidenced by their adoration of these figures–does not, and will not, see a difference between them because. We need them to stop turning a blind eye to big name, beloved, ‘experts’ and entities who do the very same thing people like Dean Schneider are doing. The public–as evidenced by their adoration of these figures–does not, and will not, see a difference between them. We need them to stop turning a blind eye to big name, beloved, ‘experts’ and entities who do the very same thing people like Dean Schneider are doing. The public–as evidenced by their adoration of these figures–does not, and will not, see a difference between them because there is no fundamental difference to see.

Dean Schneider’s lions (from what CWW can ascertain) receive the same balanced diet and level of veterinarian care and attention that Kevin Richardson’s lions receive. Richardson took his lions out on ‘enrichment walks’ until one of them killed Megan van der Zwan, and now he’s created a huge new fenced enclosure in which to walk with them for ‘enrichment’ purposes. Schneider’s lions live in a massive, natural enclosure wherein they will eventually be allowed to hunt live food, and are provided with a very naturalistic life–aside from Schneider interacting with them.

Schneider, and Richardson both learned to handle lions through interactions at established exploitive facilities, both now refer to themselves as animal behaviourists, both have participated in various ‘conservation projects’ beyond their own facilities, both have spent time with outreach programs, both profess to educate the public. Schneider is dealing with the current drama of a video purportedly showing him to punch his lion, something that he’s already successfully segwayed into a boost in followers, while Richardson trained children to strike lions in the face during the making of Mia And The White Lion, a movie which gained worldwide notoriety and accolades.

MIA AND THE WHITE LION

The public supports both of these figures because Richardson has been, and continues to be upheld as a saviour of lions, while Schneider is simply the “2020 modern model” of Richardson.

Making a couple of posts in the throes of a viral skirmish about alleged abuse on the part of Dean Schneider is simply not good enough to effectively reverse the public fixation with captive big cat interactions. Neither is sharing articles which do as much to support Schneider, by repeating his own self-serving false information presenting him as someone with ‘good intentions’ as they do criticize him.

Unless entities like Blood Lions, Volunteers In Africa Beware, EMS Foundation, Captivity Kills, People Against Canned Hunting, Voices For The Voiceless, and the hundreds of other pages, groups, and people who have shared Blood Lions’s posts, and ViAB’s posts about Schneider also start naming, and including entities like Kevin Richardson, and Eduardo Serio, Sirga The Lioness, and others who operate solely on the basis of interacting with their captive big cats and other wild animals, nothing is going to change in the future.

CWW has wondered for years, now, as stated in one of BL’s recent posts about Schneider, yes, “why do these individuals gain a ‘hero status’” for interacting with their captive lions when “we have real conservationists and wildlife rangers working to protect our heritage” of wild lions in wild spaces on a daily basis?  Of wild lions in wild spaces on a daily basis? Why indeed?

Thus, CWW would like to alter the EMS Foundation’s suggestion to more accurately state that

“It’s time” for conservation groups, and entities to join CWW’s ongoing examination of “the Big Cat Saviour personalities in South Africa.” rather than only chiming in when there’s a public uproar on the matter.

We will never stop in our efforts to educate the public about the fact that interactions with captive bred wildlife only serves to promote interactions with captive bred wildlife. Regardless of acknowledgement, or whether or not CWW is ever offered the common respect for having lead the way in addressing this matter openly and publicly, CWW will continue as we have for the last several years. However, it will remain an uphill battle to counter the ideologies set forth by exploiters like Schneider, Richardson, and those like them, so long as established pages, groups and foundations, continue to refuse to take a solid stance on the subject the way we have.

Circling back to the errors being reinforced within the viral articles which are shared so much attention during this frenzy, we are addressing the major points below.

Among the false information being provided in the articles which are now being shared by established conservation entities like those mentioned above, thus spreading the false information further:

– This is a shocking, unexpected incident, which has caused Dean Schneider’s fans to question him, and accuse him of abuse.

False

Schneider has struck his lions before, and Captive Wildlife Watchdog has discussed it before, pointing out that other entities who handle their big cats do likewise. As mentioned by CWW in our articles, the “asserting oneself as a pride member” involves striking big cats. Eduardo Serio of Black Jaguar White Tiger has done it, and so has Kevin Richardson. Richardson has even coached the child-actors of Mia And The White Lion to “grab his tongue, smack him, do whatever you’ve got to do” in order to get an adolescent lion to release its grip on her head while wrestling on the ground together. In that video, the young child actress can be seen slapping the lion in the face, and it then releases her, at which point Richardson congratulates her and praises her actions. Schneider’s propensity for striking his animals is so well documented that his fans have immediately responded the two accusations of abuse by defending Schneider, and providing explanations as to why what he’s doing is not abuse, but rather Haters are simply lying about him out of jealousy.

Dean Schneider quit his job in Switzerland to move to Africa and care for a pride of lions.

False

Schneider did not quit his job, or give up a lifestyle, or sacrifice anything in order to move to Africa to care for lions. After visiting Africa with the investment company he ran, LifeGate AG, Dean Schneider chose to purchase land in Africa, and open his own ‘sanctuary’. In order to grow his fan base, Dean Schneider himself propagated the story that he’d given up everything he owned, and abandoned an exclusive lifestyle in order to move to Africa. His PR people created these stories and disseminated them repeatedly, and intentionally in a calculated move to create viral sensations. It worked, especially with the help of Bored Panda, who shared one of those fake articles, resulting in millions of news and shares. CWW took Bored Panda on directly, and our confrontation with them resulted in a deletion of their post about Schneider, followed by a cover up that they’d ever promoted him. The entire event was documented in a Note published by CWW, which we would love to link readers to, but cannot, as Schneider reported it for under false DMCA accusations, and Facebook removed our note. This is standard for Schneider, who also reported CWW for posting a hyperlink to the music video which was filmed on Hakuna Mipaka, wherein his lion Dexter was used as a prop. Schneider regularly jets back and forth to Switzerland, and is still listed on several banking businesses as a founder, or other entity, and enjoys lavish receptions celebrating himself as an influencer.

Dean Schneider received no training in animal handling before moving to Africa and starting his sanctuary.

False

Schneider first worked with Klaudia Kollar of Malkia Park Big Cats Rescue. In its earliest days (opened to the public in 2016) Malkia Park allowed direct contact with the big cats in its care. Schneider worked with them on a regular basis, from cubs to adults. But when Kollar came to the realization that handling captive big cats, and allowing the public to also do so, only contributed to the problem, and normalized interactions between humans and big cats, she ceased all hands-on activities (CWW has spoken with Kollar several times about this, and while videos of her interacting with some of the cats continue to circulate, there is no indication anything is more recent than 2016, when we first encountered her and she was in the process of going hands off). After the ban on interactions, and hands-off care was put into place, Schneider parted ways with Kollar. He chose to purchase land in South Africa, having already visited at that point, with LifeGate AG for a trip, and made connections with Luke Cornell, of Cornellskop Animal Encounters. Cornellskop is also where Schneider met Jesse, his “right-hand man”. Under the guidance of Luke Cornell, Schneider worked with lions and other big cats, including cheetahs, handling them at all stages of development, from cub to adult, including training methods. Schneider also learned all about various species of primate, had exposure to captive bred wolves, and hyenas, along with herbivores like elands, zebra, giraffe and other antelope species. Schneider possesses licensing to breed and sell animals, and has bought those in his care, likely from sources or contacts associated with Cornellskop, which also breeds and sells. Hakuna Mipaka shares a huge number of species also found at Cornellskop, including elands, zebra, lions, hyenas, cheetah, primates, reptiles, and wolf-hybrids or wolves. A fan of Schneider’s has helpfully created this nearly 20 minute long video, titled “Beautiful Old Moments” which showcases just how much experience and interaction Schneider had with big cats and primates in the period before he founded Hakuna Mipaka. The greener, more urban settings shown are Malkia Park, while most of the rest is footage from Cornellskop.

The above points are examples of Schneider’s own misinformation formulated to present himself as a pious hero who sacrificed a world of privilege to embrace a life of struggle, surrounded by his ‘family’ of ‘rescued’ animals. The false narrative has worked to magnificent effect, allowing Schneider–in the absence of any countering forces aside from CWW–to create a massive fan base. Even the current media kerfuffle pertaining to his abuse in the form of punching one of his lions has helped, rather than harmed him, pushing his follower count beyond the 7 million mark on Instagram.

And damage control on Schneider’s part is well underway. In a 6 minute Instagram post, Schneider explains to his fans that everyone who does anything worthwhile in life will, at some point, face Haters who, out of jealousy, boredom, or unhappiness with their own lives, will attempt to take down those who are more successful, more popular, or just better people, than they are. Schneider goes on to explain the video that shows him throwing punches, even playing the entire clip (which is cut short in the Gabo-released footage) and stating that while the articles written by Haters claim he’s being investigated for abuse, he’s never been contacted by authorities. Schneider then invites authorities to come to Hakuna Mipaka and meet him, and inspect the facility. The video has been viewed nearly 2 million times as of this drafting. A second, much shorter video, in which Schneider laughingly thanks all of his Haters for helping him surpass 7 million followers, has been views over 1 million times so far.

Here is the fact that is not being acknowledged or discussed by the media (because the authors of these viral articles are not experts and are ignorant) or by the conservation pages sharing them and making statements of their own in regard to all of this drama:

Schneider’s physical strikes on his lion will not, and we cannot stress this enough, will not be categorized as abuse of a level that warrants citation, or removal of those animals. Period. There is no one, and again, we cannot stress this enough, there is no one, who interacts with captive big cats who has not whacked those cats on the nose, head, body, etc. during their training and interactions.

Fans may not witness it in videos, may not believe it occurs, but the fact remains that it does, and anyone who claims they have never done so while interacting with their captive big cats is lying.

Whether it’s a stick, or staff, a shoe, the flat of a hand, a whip, elbow, a human body part, or artificial aid, all captive big cats who are directly interacted with by humans have been struck at some point in order to ‘lay the boundary’ of what is, and is not acceptable during those interactions. The only way to prevent this from happening is to prevent humans from engaging in interactions with captive big cats, and captive wildlife in general. This is the conversation that the media, and those sharing the media’s limited articles could have, and should have, engaged in.

What’s happening right now in regard to Schneider is like Americans attacking Harvey Weinstein in the US for his engagement in abusive activities, but not demanding that Hollywood stop supporting the activities that Weinstein is being vilified for participating in. Schneider exists because the current regime within the captive big cat world allows, and rewards, the interaction of humans and captive big cats in the form of popularity and fandom. It’s the only thing that makes it possible for people like Schneider, Serio, Antle, to exist. And in South Africa, that regime was built from the ground up, in no small part, by Kevin Richardson. Lion farms, captive lion breeding, and canned hunting have existed for many years prior to the last two decades (Douglas H. Fletcher is attributed to have started breeding lions in captivity in the 1960s, and in 1980 established Sandhurst Safaris, lions being one their primary game animals. Now called Tinashe Outfitters and run by Fletcher’s son, Clayton they hosts all manner of big cats. But being touted as a conservationist, and beatified as a hero for interacting with captive wild lions is an immediately modern archetype created by and exemplified Richardson alone. Until this revered archetype is publicly dismantled for the fraud that it is, others are going to continue adopting it, and exploit

You can keep up to date with Captive Wildlife Watchdog updates and exposés HERE.

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We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals. It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible. Thank you for your support.

A Testimony To Why Trophy Hunting Is A Vacuous Void, Devoid Of Any Moral Or Ethical Compass That Undermines Africa’s Indigenous Culture.

Below, is the full testimony of an anonymous source, a former member of the Oxford University Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) team that radio-collared and studied Cecil prior to him being killed.

CECIL LIVED IN HWANGE NATIONAL PARK, IN ZIMBABWE. HE WAS LURED OUT OF THE PARK WITH AN ELEPHANT CARCASS BY AMERICAN TROPHY HUNTER WALTER PALMER

This anonymous source’s first-hand account of the killing of Cecil 7 years on is an appropriate testimony, not only to the callous way in which American trophy hunter Walter Palmer et al took this pride male Lion’s life for their own self-gratification and/or financial enrichment (the ethos of trophy hunters and the industry that panders to them in general), but also a testimony to why trophy hunting is a vacuous void, devoid of any moral or ethical compass that undermines Africa’s indigenous culture. That is why the long outdated, notion of a bygone era of colonial entitlement and the predominantly white foreigner’s self-proclaimed ‘right’ to kill African wildlife for sadistic entertainment as espoused by trophy hunting must end:

“The physical act of a white hunter coming in and going out on their exploratory adventure, to conquer and kill an animal – that act rehearses the history of colonialism. That point is not lost on people who live in local communities, and it should not be lost on those of us from the country sending trophy hunters” (page 146) – Dr Chelsea Batavia

Senior environmental scientist

“When I started reading the narratives of trophy hunters, I was struck more than anything by the similarity with the narratives of terrorists when they talk about what they do” (page 151) – Professor Geoff Beattie, Professor of Psychology, Edge Hill University. Author, ‘Trophy Hunting: A Psychological Perspective’

The economic forces that drive the trophy hunting industry can be replaced with a balanced approach that enriches Africa’s own cultural identity and interaction with its native wildlife, free from the imposition of the destructive, greed-based desire of the trophy hunting colonial mindset and its bloated lobby heavily financed by vested interests.

ANON – a former member of the Oxford University Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU)

“I worked for close to a decade as a field researcher on the Hwange Lion research project in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. The initial focus of the work was the impact of trophy hunting outside the park on the Lions inside the park. There was a lot of darting, collaring and observational data to collect. I spent 7 days a week tracking Lions, catching and collaring them and getting to know them. Soon that developed into a study of the conflict between people and Lions, a subject I eventually specialised in.

Cecil was a very large mature Lion in Hwange. He was special because very few male Lions ever survive as long as he did, and thus a lot was made of his huge mane and the fact that it was black. The black mane is a genetic trait that is quite strong in Hwange Lions, but very few Lions survive long enough for it to present. Cecil was dominant over some of the best Lion real-estate in Hwange and this too was the area best for tourists. That is why he was so well-known. He had large prides and he was seen daily by tourists. Cecil was very much in his prime when he was shot, despite him being 12 years old or so. The hunters made a case that Cecil was old and therefore past his prime, but that was not true. He was still breeding and in perfect condition. He was considered old because most Lions are shot long before getting to that age. He was one of two males in a coalition. They were unrelated but had forged an alliance because together they were stronger.

On the night of the 1st of July 2015, a couple of professional hunters (PHs) and their client were sitting about 40 or 50 metres from a blind overlooking a dead elephant. Between 9 and 10pm Jericho, Cecil’s coalition partner, ran past the blind and started feeding on the elephant. Jericho was a very large Lion in his own right and was about a year younger than Cecil. His saving grace was that he was blonde. Walter Palmer – the trophy hunter who shot Cecil – has subsequently said that he didn’t know about Cecil and hadn’t come to hunt Cecil specifically. However, the fact that they didn’t shoot Jericho while watching him feed for over an hour meant that they knew that a larger and darker Lion – the traits a trophy hunter prefers – was still to come.

BROTHERS IN ARMS: THE LAST KNOWN PHOTOGRAPH OF CECIL (WITH BROTHER JERICHO STANDING BEHIND HIM)

Cecil arrived about an hour later. Walter Palmer let loose his arrow. Cecil ran off wounded. The hunters left to go back to camp for the night. Normally when a client is about to shoot a Lion from a blind, his professional hunter (PH) is ready too with his rifle. If the client’s shot doesn’t kill the Lion instantly, then the PH shoots the animal to “secure it”. This is common practice because a wounded Lion is dangerous to follow up and nobody wants to do it. The PH is professionally obliged to “back up” the client’s shot to avoid a wounded animal. In this case, however, Walter Palmer had told his PH not to back him up. The reason for this was that Walter Palmer was after Safari Club International’s bow-hunting record for a Lion. If a rifle was subsequently used, then the bow-hunting record would have been disallowed. So Cecil ran off wounded, and the hunters simply went back to camp.

In the morning, at around 9am, the hunters returned and tracked Cecil down. He was badly wounded and hadn’t gone far. Walter Palmer then finished him off with a second arrow. From statements made to police, we understand that when Palmer and the PH approached the Lion they saw the collar and panicked. The PH said that he took the collar off and placed it in a tree before following his client. When he returned he said the collar was gone. We know from the GPS data that the collar was collecting, however, that they then gave that collar to someone who carried it around for a couple of days to mimic a Lion’s movements in order to confuse us and presumably buy time to get the client out of the country. On the morning of July 4, the collar sent its last GPS point and was presumably destroyed. We never found it.

There was no permit for hunting a Lion in that area. The PH had purchased a Lion quota from another area. He was hoping to hunt Cecil and export it as one of the others shot elsewhere. Illegal practices such as those are relatively commonplace.

During my time as part of the Lion project, it happened maybe a dozen times that we know of. Usually the collar is destroyed and we only find it months later. In Cecil’s case he had a new satellite technology collar which meant all its data is sent to a server and even when the collar is destroyed the data is safe and accessible.

CECIL ENJOYS A MOMENT WITH A LIONESS. THE FAMOUS LION WAS KNOWN FOR BEING UNAFRAID OF HUMANS.

I became something of a pariah in Zimbabwe after the story died down. At first, when the story broke, I was the only person on the ground speaking to the press, and I was complimented by the authorities and WildCRU alike. However, when the hunting industry approached the government and told them that if they pressed for Walter Palmer’s extradition they would lose their industry, there was an about-turn.

Suddenly it was said everything was legal and no charges were pressed. I was left alone on the end of the plank, surrounded by sharks. I still had to go to meetings with the very landowners in the Gwaai Valley where Cecil had been shot where I was screamed at and accused of destroying the industry. I slept with a loaded rifle by my bed for many months, always waiting to hear a vehicle approaching our home at night. I have since been subjected to all sorts of abuse and character assassinations, including now having a file of everything I had ever posted on social media printed and given to Zimbabwe’s secret police, the CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation), the Parks authorities, local chiefs and so on. I was banned from entering the park for over a year and forced to delete my Facebook page. I have had to keep a very low profile since.

The situation of Lions today is difficult. There were 1.2 million wild Lions in the 1800s. Now there are around 20,000. They are doing well in protected areas. They are under threat from habitat loss, though, as well conflict with livestock owners which includes retaliatory killing and – worryingly – preventative killings before they kill any livestock. Lion conservation is all about boundaries. On park boundaries, where mortalities are man-related, that is where we lose Lions.

Much value is placed on the value of Lions in terms of economies, both for hunting and photographic safaris, and that is very important. However, to me these are the least important of their three values. The other two are cultural value and ecological value. The cultural value of Lions is all around for us to see. There was a premiership match a while ago between Manchester United and Chelsea. Three of the largest sports brands on earth and all three – the premier league being the third – have a Lion in their logo. That doesn’t even describe the value that the Lion represents to Africans which can hardly be quantified.

The most important aspect or value of Lions, though, is their ecological value. It is very much like the value of wolves which people are now understanding when they were lost and then reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the US. Lions keep landscapes healthy, rivers flowing and arid areas regenerating whilst avoiding desertification. Simply put, Lions keep browsing animals bunched in dense herds moving which avoids overgrazing. Savannahs are healthier with Lions. The loss of Lions would be a catastrophe for the people of Africa and for the globe to have lost the most iconic species on earth. Economies would suffer and ecosystems would have lost a key component that keeps millions of hectares of Africa from becoming desertified.

PALMER SHOT CECIL WITH A BOW AND ARROW ONCE THE LION LEFT THE SAFETY OF THE PARK, ONLY WOUNDING HIM. HOURS PASSED BEFORE THEY FINISHED HIM OFF

The 2015 IUCN Red Data analysis on Lions reported that trophy hunting was one of the main contributors “to an astonishing decline of 42% of the continent’s total Lion population.” Trophy hunting is detrimental because it targets the largest animals. With Lions, trophy hunters target the males with the darkest manes too. In nature, if a male has those two traits – in other words, he is the largest and darkest male in the area – then he is the pride male. Period. So hunters are targeting the very animal that is maintaining pride stability and holds all the best genes. The loss of that individual is felt for months after his death and over a large area for many species including ours. When a pride is stable and the male is in tenure undisturbed, his male offspring usually leave the pride at about 3.5 – 4.5 years old. They often leave in coalitions and have had plenty of hunting experience to allow them to fight for a territory and take one over for themselves. They are considered adults and will avoid humans and their livestock as a rule. The daughters will tend to stay with their mothers and that continuity is the maintenance of a pride and their territory.

CECIL’S PRIDE: CECIL’S CUBS IN 2015

If a pride male dies naturally, in a fight for instance, the new male is probably stronger with some genetic advantage. He will kill all the cubs from his predecessor and very quickly mate with all receptive females and get his genes into the system as soon as he can. And rightly so, as he is the strongest male around now. If the pride male is hunted, though – and we know that trophy hunters target the pride males by virtue of the fact they are after the largest, darkest males – then the weaker males that couldn’t beat the pride male move in after the hunter has left with his trophy, and the stronger male’s cubs are killed and replaced with weaker genes. We have seen a situation where a coalition of four males in a pride were trophy hunted and up to 16 cubs and sub-adults were killed by new males after the fact. So we don’t just lose 4 males – we lose 20 Lions altogether from that hunt.

Infanticide as I have described sounds all very clinical, but Lionesses if nothing else are the best mothers alive and they hardly just sit and allow their cubs to be killed.

They either fight, in which case they too can be killed, or they flee. Africa’s parks are large, but the Lionesses will flee to the only place that an adult male won’t follow her to kill the cubs, and that is often amongst people. When they leave the parks to avoid infanticide and find themselves amongst people, they rarely find wild prey to live off.

So they may start killing livestock. I noticed this pattern many years ago and I know that WildCRU has the data but they won’t publish it for fear of upsetting the people that give them their permits to study Lions – for example, the Parks department managers who receive money from Lion hunting.

As a result, we are told that trophy hunting is not the largest source of Lion mortality but that conflict with livestock is. This story shows that trophy hunting is in fact a major, if not the major, driver of that conflict. Ironically, the hunters that are responsible for the conflict spikes are often called in to deal with the “problem Lions” with no mention of the fact that they caused it. We have had prides of Lionesses birth 4 or 5 cohorts of cubs and not see a single one reach adulthood because they are caught in this cycle. No sooner have they moved out of the park and started killing livestock than they lose their cubs to snares and “problem animal” control. If the Lionesses survive they now move back to the park without cubs to protect and mate with the new males. Their own cubs are born when hunting season comes around and those males are killed too.

The Truth About Cecil’s Death and The Future of Africa’s Lions

And so the process repeats itself. All the time, Lions are getting the blame and hunters are seen as saving the day. Conflict work is the hardest work of all, especially if you are trying to be sensitive to people and protecting Lions. I have attended meetings where every man attending had an axe on his shoulder for me if the meeting went badly! Yet in Hwange, we know without a shadow of doubt that trophy hunting had the single most significant effect on Lion mortality. As Dr Andrew Loveridge of Oxford University WildCRU has written, levels of hunting mortality exceeded deaths of Lions in conflict with people or killed in wire snares set by poachers and also far outstripped natural levels of mortality. Other sources of mortality such as retaliatory and pre-emptive killing of conflict Lions are often driven by trophy hunting too. So the total impact of trophy hunting is enormous.

Lions breed quickly and their numbers can recover very swiftly once hunting is stopped. We saw Hwange’s Lion population nearly double in the 4 years that Lion hunting was stopped. By allowing the pride males to mature, their protection means that Lionesses lose fewer cubs to Hyaenas. The sub-adults leave later when they are more experienced and can get a territory, rather than get chased around by adult Lions until they too escape the park and predate on livestock – and end up being killed as a ‘problem’ animal.

What perhaps churns my stomach most are the prizes offered by groups such as Safari Club International. To win the highest Safari Club International award, it is estimated that a trophy hunter must kill more than 300 animals. This is one of the strongest arguments against trophy hunting. The hunting and killing of animals purely for ego is a colonial relic that has no place in modern humanity. Pro-hunters argue that if we stop hunting, then the lands that are set aside for it quickly turn to alternative, less Lion-friendly land uses. Slave owners and traders used a similar argument to counter the proposed abolition of slavery. If you ban slavery without finding an alternative source of labour then you won’t have sugar in your coffee, they might say. But that was not an excuse to keep an inhumane system going. It was banned, and people were forced to find an alternative, and so will conservationists when trophy hunting is banned.

MAJESTIC

If you wait, though, then there is no incentive to change. I actually advocate for traditional hunting in protected areas believing that people too are key components of healthy ecosystems, and traditional hunting is a disturbance activity that keeps animals moving and avoids overgrazing. Trophy hunting, though, has no place in African culture. If we are to strengthen Africa’s appreciation and protection of their natural heritage, we must look for links to their cultures. Currently, trophy hunting makes traditional African hunting illegal, and we call them poachers – while rich foreigners come and kill the wildlife with a red carpet rolled out for their arrival. It is vile and has to be consigned to history. These animals should not be sold and hunted as a commodity, but rather they should be part of a strong cultural and ecologically healthy system.

To ensure the survival of Lions, we need to get Africans to feel that the Lions are theirs and not only there for the privileged foreigners to shoot. Often I hear that there are people who have signed a letter saying that the world should leave Africa to manage its wildlife the way it sees fit. I agree with that in principle. However, when I read the list of names, especially from Zimbabwe, I see nobody who represents ordinary people. I see politicians with interests in the trophy hunting industry promoting hunting as “Africans managing their wildlife”. Trophy hunting has no place in African tradition. It is very easy to assemble corrupt people to sing the new song that the powerful trophy hunting lobby want to push, namely that trophy hunting is about promoting African self-determination.

I do believe Africans should decide how to manage their natural resources, but it is almost that they need to be allowed to re-learn what this means. All our park managers are trained by the colonial system under the “if it pays it stays” mantra. Let us instead promote a system change where self-confident Africans, who know what Lions and other wildlife mean to them culturally, and without outside influences, decide what to do with their rich resources. That is paramount. The rest will come easily after that.

I have advocated for the Lion to be declared the first World Heritage Species. This means not seeing it as a tax to ensure the survival of Lions, but rather as a celebration of an animal that means so much to all of humanity. Brands that use Lions for their marketing should come under pressure to pay into a fund that supports the types of work I describe above. Lions are important, but they are also the most efficient means of protecting large areas and a plethora of other species. If you give Lions what they need, their prey will be looked after and their landscapes as well as the people that have to live with them.

It is time to ban trophy hunting, set up Lion as the first World Heritage Species, and raise funds from businesses that use Lions in their marketing. That money should be used to protect Lion landscapes with less stick and more carrot, build up Africans in a way that they can explore what Lions and their wildlife resources mean to them both culturally and ecologically, and empower them to make those decisions.

BELOW ARE PHOTOS OF WALTER PALMER WHO KILLED CECIL IN THE PRIME OF HIS LIFE

US TROPHY HUNTER WALTER PALMER (LEFT) WITH ANOTHER LION HE KILLED
PALMER IS SNAPPED HERE WITH A RHINO THAT HE APPARENTLY PAID £13,000 TO KILL
PALMER WITH A LEOPARD FROM HIS NOW CLOSED FACEBOOK PAGE

© BRENT STAPELKAMP

PROTECT ALL WILDLIFE

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, take action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

Protect All Wildlife are involved in many projects to protect animals’ rights, welfare, and habitats. Money contributed to Protect All Wildlife supports ALL of our worthy programmes and gives us the flexibility to respond to emerging needs. Your donations make our work possible.