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Cecil the Lion: shining a spotlight on trophy hunting


Cecil the Lion: shining a spotlight on trophy hunting

The selective hunting of big game wildlife for trophies is serious business in Africa.

For aficionados, the ultimate goal is to bag the “Big Five”; lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino.

Different packages are available, from a 3,600 US dollars per day five-animal hunt to a ten-day lion safari for almost 50,000 dollars per person..

Government taxes and animal bait, sometimes used to lure them out of protected areas as happened with Zimbabwe’s Cecil the Lion, cost extra.

Prices vary from country to country. Many hunters will want to take their trophy home, which means paying expensive fees. The transport fee for an elephant, for example, can top 25,000 dollars.

In some cases, safari concessions are auctioned by local authorities like the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. An auction on April 24th required cash participation deposits of 5000 US dollars for prospective buyers to obtain a permit for hunting.

There are restrictions on what can be imported. The EU, for example, has imposed a permit system across its 28 member states to ensure that vulnerable species in specific countries are not put at risk: Lawmakers would like the ban extended to cover the entire African continent.

There are also restrictions from airlines on what can be carried. South African Airlines and Emirates Sky Cargo are both refusing to carry trophy hunting souvenirs. There are calls for other airlines to follow suit.

Trophy hunting – saviour or saboteur?

Kenya banned trophy hunting completely in 1977 but it exists in one form or another in every other country in Africa.

There are those who say that the leisure pursuit, which has existed for at least 200 years, brings benefits to the local economy and protects wildlife at risk of extinction.

For others, though, this is not the case. Their argument is that there is no proof of increased revenue

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