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  1. #1
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    Default Please explain the Lion business to me

    After watching the video of a lion charging a hunter who shot him just in time and reading the predominantly negative comments on YouTube and also on GunSite, I'd like to understand how the Lion business works.

    GunSite thread: http://www.gunsite.co.za/forums/show...n-charge-video
    Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=tEIGqD80N6U

    Most of the negative commenters seem to have a moral problem with people shooting lions, or with the way people shoot lions. Personally, I have no conviction one way or the other; I'm merely interested in how the business works.

    If I think about it logically, there are only three ways to keep and breed lion on your farm in a commercially viable way:
    1. Game viewing
    2. Hunting
    3. Donations/Subsidies

    Are there any more? I imagine Lions are not really good for anything else (e.g. riding, eating, working) and I imagine they are quite expensive to buy and keep. After all, they're going to eat your other game.


    So, can someone please explain to me:
    - How does the Lion business work in practice?
    - What is the real effect of Lion hunting on conservation (I imagine if you're concerned about conserving Lions for our grandkids, it is better to keep and breed Lions for hunting, than to not have any Lions at all)?
    - What moral/ethical issues are involved with Lion hunting?
    Last edited by francois.viljoen; 06-03-2013 at 15:47. Reason: grammar

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Please explain the Lion business to me

    Excellent post/question, I too await answers from anyone in the know.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Please explain the Lion business to me

    I'm on my mobile now, but will attempt to explain what I know and understand of the industry from several viewpoints.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Please explain the Lion business to me

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushboy View Post
    I'm on my mobile now, but will attempt to explain what I know and understand of the industry from several viewpoints.
    Looking forward to your post Bushboy.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Please explain the Lion business to me

    lion hunting like any other form of hunting is one way to conserve them. Note i say conserve and not preserve. As a animal commodity in our developing world a lion has to carry its weight and like stated hunting is one way. Tourism is another but not very effective as a large reserve can only accomodate small amounts of lions. I firmly believe hunting can and will make sure that there will forever be lions. If only they would open hunting of wild dogs and cheetah we will never have a problem with their numbers again.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Please explain the Lion business to me

    Right, I have a few minutes:
    The lion business can be seen from many angles:Hunting, conservation, tourism, these are not exclusive and not always linked or in harmony.
    Wild hunted lions: These are lions hunted in the wild (obviously) and fall into different categories, such as females, males. Males can be further broken down into, young nomad, pride male/ dominant male, ejected male. Young nomads generally dont have nice trophy manes, ejected males can be a bit moth eaten. Male lions are usually a part of a coalition and not single animals as depicted in lion king. Sometimes there are individuals, especially among ejected males but they can be ejected as a whole coalition.
    Removing any wild lion has an effect on the lion dynamics in the population it was removed from. This is because in saturated areas all lions live in a sort of equilibrium, all pushing against each other. any removal upsets this equilibrium. This is not that unnatural as lion mortality is high and happens all the time even without hunting. Where hunting does upset the applecart a bit is that quite often, the better looking trophies are selected (read strong big maned males) which were most likely the dominant males or if they were nomads, the most likely successful challengers. If you remove a member of a strong coalition, you break the coalition and throw it into dis array often costing the lives of the survivors in battles with other males. Unless the coalition was big (say 5 males). If the male was a pride male, you destroy his coalition, inviting challangers and usually the destruction of all cubs and young lions. Even if the coalition holds, the upheaval is huge. I have seen this many times. From a tourism point of view, this essentially messes with lion viewing a lot. You cant predict where to find them and viewing becomes more erratic. However the upside is that you do get very good exciting viewing when you do catch up with them. Slotting ejected males has the least impact. Depending on the size of the pride, and the rank of the female concerned, removing a female may have little to moderate effect. Essentially, when lions are removed (naturally or otherwise) other lions die as well.

    Canned lions: these are animals bred for purpose and thus dont have any effect on the environment. Whether you as a hunter feel this is "hunting" or not I suppose is an individual response. Im ambivalent about this as I like the fact that wild lions are not disturbed and that they are usually shot at close range from a vehicle or blind and the animal suffers little (usually). I personally see no attraction and Im repulsed by the fact that it feeds into the dishonesty of the hunter who invariably lets everyone who cares to listen know that he killed a big wild lion.

    That is not to say that wild lion hunts are any more honourable, most also being shot over baits from blinds or vehicles. But again im conflicted. Making sure the animal is killed properly over a bait, means less suffering and fewer human lives are placed at risk. Im not talking the client here, but rather the PH, trackers etc. On the other hand, a 10yr old could do it if he can handle the rifle. Not really a contest.

    Economics: Lions are expensive, very. Not to buy, but to keep. They eat a lot and seldom stick to your intended menu (as reserve manager). Eg if you have disease free buff, rest assured some lion will develop a taste for buff meat, and will ignore the herds of half lame wildebeest. Think that on average an adult lion will eat the equivalent of an impala every 3 days or so or roughly 100 impala per year. No wonder the lion breeders I know used to make night trips into the tribal areas to collect stray (or not so stray) donkeys, cattle etc.

    In enclosed smaller (under 1million hectares) reserves lion populations grow very quickly and require regular culling. In larger parks where game re introduction is not practiced and game managment is minimal, lions and prey regulate thier own populations in cycles of boom and bust, and in fact culling can cause bigger problems. I reference the big lion culls of 1970's in kruger which resulted (paradoxically) in a lion population explosion which in turn wiped out the wildebeest. Ironically the species they were trying to save by culling lions.

    Anyway, that what I can think of right now, Im just too tired.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Please explain the Lion business to me

    Thank you for a very interesting read.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Please explain the Lion business to me

    Informative post bushboy, actually learnt something, thanks bud!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Please explain the Lion business to me

    Thank you bushboy, that was very informative. Especially about how shooting one wild lion in a pride upsets the dynamics of the group and results in other lions dying in the process.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Please explain the Lion business to me

    Thanks bushboy. A great read!
    Thanks Francois for the great question.

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