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Killing Lions to Protect Them? Does it Make Sense?

Killing Lions to Protect Them? Does it Make Sense?

Written by Michael Graham Richard

I’m killing you for your own good
In today’s New York Times, Alexander N. Songorwa, the director of wildlife for the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, makes a plea for the African lion not to be declared an endangered species (they are currently categorized as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List). His argument is very pragmatic, basically saying that rich American tourists who fly over there so they can shoot lions with high-powered rifles and then bring back a trophy spend a lot of money, and that money helps fund game reserves, wildlife management areas, and conservation efforts in Tanzania. He further explains that his country has a stable population of lions (about 40% of all lions in Africa — though is it that high only because other countries have done so badly protecting their lions?) and that they have rules against killing females and younger males.

“We had to destroy that village to save it”
What should we think about that line of reasoning? On one hand, sometimes you have to break some eggs to make an omelet, and maybe this is the price to pay to finance conservation efforts… But on the other, we have to be careful about false dichotomies. There are other choices. We don’t necessarily need wealthy people to fly around the world just so they can shoot top predators from afar and then feel manly when they off show the carcass to their friends (I mean, there’s not much merit in killing a lion with what is basically a sniper rifle — try knife fighting one and then you can brag).

I wish conservation efforts could be funded by regular tourism, photographic safaris, maybe some environmental/wildlife NGOs or a small royalty on natural resources, something like that. But I also won’t kid myself that the situation is simple and that the Tanzanian government has lots of resources available (though that has been getting better lately). Maybe these types of safaris can be progressively phased out as other sources of revenue are found?

This post was originally published by TreeHugger.

 

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167 comments

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8:13AM PDT on Apr 29, 2013

thanks for sharing

7:03PM PDT on Apr 11, 2013

Makes NO sense!

3:57PM PDT on Apr 11, 2013

Instead why don't they kill humans and themselves? they do deserve it

5:14PM PDT on Apr 8, 2013

Trophy hunters and those who support them are equally despicable!

5:21PM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

Absurd! Insane! The lions clearly are NOT protected -- who is allowing hunters/killers with their sniper rifles to enter Tanzania! DON'T ALLOW THIS! No matter how much these hunters/killers pay, DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO KILL THE WORLD'S LIONS! I bet there are many who would pay just to SEE these noble, beautiful animals from a distance. These are the tourists who should be allowed to visit your country--PLEASE, give this route a try. I'd like to add that I greatly appreciated the above author's following comment, "We don’t necessarily need wealthy people to fly around the world just so they can shoot top predators from afar and then FEEL MANLY when they off show the carcass to their friends (I mean, there’s not much merit in killing a lion with what is basically a sniper rifle — try knife fighting one and then you can brag)." Well put!

10:55AM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

"trophy hunters"..every last one of them are among the very worst criminals of society. They don't deserve their money they stole and embezzled to destroy the earth. Those disgusting "hunters" should be separated from all their money and possessions and forced to live their lives in a roach infested pit.

7:59AM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

ridiculous!

4:29AM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

This makes me sick to my stomach,Tanzania= SELLOUT!!!! What are they gonna do when they run out of lions to kill? Then resort to lioness? cubs? After that whats next?

4:40AM PDT on Mar 22, 2013

You could tax those rich people, then give the money to lion conservation etc. That way you get money from all rich people, not just the assholes intent on killing beautiful animals... (But I guess humans are basically too stupid and selfish to do what is right...)

8:31PM PDT on Mar 21, 2013

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