Thank You, Zambia

Zambia's leopard

Zambia’s leopard numbers, as well as those of its lions, are too low for a sustainable hunting industry, says its tourism minister. Photograph: Brendan Raisbeck/Alamy

Click the image above to go to the whole story. No easy answers: sometimes hunting is the solution to conservation needs–refer to the US Fish & Wildlife Service for plenty of excellent case studies.  But big game hunting has an intuitively dangerous ring to it.  Zambia has made a decision for their territories:

Zambia has banned the hunting of lions and other endangered wild cats such as leopards because it sees more value in tourism than blood sport, the country’s tourism minister said.

Sylvia Masebo told Reuters on Thursday that big cat numbers were also too low to have a sustainable hunting industry, saying: “Tourists come to Zambia to see the lion and if we lose the lion we will be killing our tourism industry.”

The estimated $3m (£1.9m) Zambia earned a year from safari hunting was too little to merit the continued depletion of wildlife, she said.

Zambia’s leopard population is not known while lion numbers are not believed to exceed 4,500.

Estimates for the lion population in Africa as a whole vary from 15,000 to 30,000, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and is falling in the face of numerous threats including conflict with livestock farmers and loss of prey and habitat.

Read the whole story here.

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