On Hunting

In Zambia, there is a ban on commercial hunting. They had a problem where hunters wanted to kill male lions. You know the ones with the big furry manes. Well, the problem with hunting them is when the pride lion dies, a successor will come and take control of the pride. The new king will kill all the cubs of the former pride lion.

Each time a pride lion is killed before the cubs are old enough to fend for themselves (aged about 2-3 years), it restarts the cycle.

Old lions are meant to be the ones that are best for hunting. The old ones are not making any new lions. The problem starts is that there aren’t enough old male lions to go around.

If you run this cycle too many times, the population crashes. The hunters are killing lions, the lions are killing lions. No one is giving them a break.

So now there is a hunting ban in Zambia and the population is growing again. An enforced break.

This has caused it’s own set of problems.

Licences for hunting also cost lots of money. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars. When you stop hunting, then you stop getting that income.

Commercial hunting also requires vast tracts of land. Land in Africa, whether it be used for traditional tourism, hunting or a nature reserve needs to be maintained. Maintenance involves remove snares and traps put in by locals who are trying to illegally catch an antelope to eat or sell.

Except that the also snare giraffe, the occasional lion. These wounded animals either die in the traps or are left maimed hobbling around the park.

The hunting companies keep their lands clear of traps because lame targets are not what they want. This is a win for the other animals.

The hunting areas also tend to keep people out. There isn’t much land set aside for the animals of Africa. What’s left is being whittled away by opportunistic locals looking for land to grow food upon. When hunters are roaming around shooting at things, the locals are less likely to go in to the land, chop down the trees and setup a village.

This last part is already problem near the tourist national parks themselves. A park is established and tourists come. This brings money in for the locals. Then people come looking for work from other parts of the country. This has flow on effects with support industries like hairdressers, restaurants, etc. This requires more people.

All of these people need land. So they start trying to cut down the trees in the park. The felled timber is burnt for fuel and the land clear for farming.

A town near South Luangwa National Park has grown from 1,000 to 30,000 people over the years. All because of the national park. Except now they are starting to damage the income source that brought them all here.

So what do you do about?

when: Thursday, December 04, 2014