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Lions are one of the most celebrated species of African wildlife ©Homo Ambiens Photography

Lions

 

Lions are undoubtedly one of the most celebrated species of African wildlife. Part of the iconic Big 5, they are perhaps the most sought after sighting on any African safari - and are celebrated in the annals of human history in cartoons, books and films.

 

The controversial trophy hunting of wild and captive bred (canned) lions is a major bone of contention in lion conservation circles. The hunting of wild large male lions reduces genetic viability of the increasingly isolated remaining wild lion populations, removes generations of lions when rival males move in to take the place of the hunted dominant males and kill the offspring, and reduces pride stability as pride members scatter to avoid being killed and to protect young lions. The breeding and canned hunting of captive lions is introducing an additional category of hunter - one with less time and less of the traditional trophy hunter value system - and so further reduces the lion from king of beasts to a commodity. In addition the canned lion hunting industry is inexorably linked to the trade in lion and tiger bones, an industry that has contributed meaningfully to the destruction of wild tiger populations and will probably do same for wild lions within the foreseeable future.