Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife reserve has warned that it may cull over 200 lions to try and curb the population explosion that is occurring now that big game hunters are staying away. After seeing the global outcry caused by the Cecil incident hunters have felt that it is not worth the risk. Walter Palmer the American dentist who famously hunted Cecil has had his entire life turned upside down. His business has been boycotted by local residence and he fears going out in public.
Looking after wildlife, especially big game is a costly expense. Game reserves face daily challenges and park entrance fee’s barely cover necessities. Big game hunter contributions were 2 fold. If you recall Walter Palmer had paid $55,000 in total to fly to Zimbabwe and hunt a lion. These lump sum contributions go a long way in the management and maintenance of game parks and also help cover the cost of the very much needed support of rangers, who are constantly battling poachers.
The second use for game hunters is in population control. People don’t realise that game parks are miniature version of the once vast expanse that these animals used to roam around in. Therefore all populations in the park need to be kept in check. Any one population spiralling out of control can have detrimental effects on the rest. Park owners would advertise the animals who’s populations needed to be brought back in line, the hunters would then not only be bringing an exploding population back to manageable levels but also providing much needed funds to maintain the park.
It is sad that we live in a world where game hunting is a necessary evil, however Africa is still a developing continent. Europe and America decimated their animal populations centuries ago during a a time when there was little economic reason to preserve wildlife. It would seem that the in today’s world the biggest contributor to wildlife conservation is the economic value attached to these animals and countries realise that they are major contributors to tourism. It now seems that big game hunters also had an important role to play.
Blondie Leathem, general manager of Bubye Valley Conservancy, said: ‘I wish we could give about 200 of our lions away to ease the overpopulation.
‘If anyone knows of a suitable habitat for them where they will not land up in human conflict, or in wildlife areas where they will not be beaten up because of existing prides, please let us know and help us raise the money to move them.’