The killing of Cecil the lion by Walter Palmer and his cohorts did some good. It highlighted the need to tighten up the whole trophy hunting business and it is big business. To be frank we can’t rely on the governments of African states such as Zimbabwe where Cecil lived to change much. It just does not happen due to inefficient and corrupt government but it is nice to report that France has decided to ban the importation of African lion trophies.
Lions do also exist outside of Africa (in India – the Asiatic lion in the Gir Forest) so I am not sure why the Humane Society specifies in their news bulletin that France has banned importing “African” lion trophies. I presume they mean all lion trophies. Perhaps it is because the Asian lion is so well protected.
Anyway, we are told the ban took place last week. It seems that the French minister of ecology Segolene Royal notified Brigitte Bardot of the ban, which is nice touch. Ms Bardot is a great animal advocate and runs her Brigitte Bardot Foundation.
Stricter regulations regarding the importation of other sport hunting trophies are also being considered.
The new law is an important lion conservation step as between 2005 and 2014, 351 lion trophies were imported into France.
Australia has already banned lion trophy imports and other EU countries would appear to be considering whether they will follow suit. The Netherlands are looking at ways to instigate a global ban.
As for the USA, at present American hunters import the majority of lion trophies. In fact, I think you’ll find that the large majority of lion hunters in Africa are Americans. They like to use their guns to kill lions more than any other nation it seems.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service is about to announce its decision on listing the lion under the Endangered Species Act. I would have thought that this is a no brainer as the lion is endangered. We all know it and it is becoming more so as the years go by because trophy hunting carries on unabated. The French ban is a step in the right direction. The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to list the lion under the Endangered Species Act (if it happens) will help stop or slow lion trophy imports into the USA.
The American government is also considering banning a ban on imports of lion parts between states and legislation to stop trophy hunting of lions. About time I say.
A weakness in the chain is the governments of the African states. Botswana have outlawed hunting but the African states have not (if I am wrong please correct me in a comment).
For long term economic growth of tourism of all kinds in African a ban on hunting makes sense for the obvious reason that if big wildlife is killed for the pleasure of big game hunters there will less of these magnificent animals to observe and photograph.
In the context of African big game, the word “shooting” should refer to the taking of a photograph not killing.
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Source: The Humane Society