The Importance Of Trophy-Hunting In Africa Essay

Trophy hunting of lions is a sensitive topic with controversial undertones due to the players involved. Most of the world’s lions can be found in Africa, and it is here that these hunting safaris take place. Large portions of the people that participate in these expeditions are American citizens, and the trophies are exported back to their home country. The African lion has not yet been placed on the endangered list on the US Fish and Wildlife Services (Flocken). There are various schools of thought on whether or not lion-hunting is counterproductive towards conservation efforts.

The number of lions worldwide (especially in Africa) continues to dwindle each year. There is concern that trophy-hunting is an important contributing factor. There is also the opinion that trophy-hunting is a rather good way of limiting the damage that lion-hunting may bring as it is regulated and done through the proper channels (Murphy 68). This is further reinforced by the revenue to be had from lion-hunting, and it comes off in some quarters as being a gilt-edged opportunity to solve to problems with one. However, despite this there remains the need for an objective look at the matter.

The African lion is increasingly disappearing from the continent and in line with conservationist efforts should be listed as endangered and not be hunted at all despite the question of economic gains and controlled hunting. In assessing lion-hunting, it is important to analyze critically both sides of the divide. This allows for a retrospective look at the issue and helps balance out the controversy. Some people are all for lion-hunting in the sense that it can help serve two purposes.

For most African countries, revenue creation is a ajor problem, and tourism has for long been marked out as a primary income earner (Songorwa). In this sense, the hunting safaris bring in more revenue per person than the unit numbers when general wildlife tourism is considered. Lion-hunters have to get permits that allow them to hunt and pay extra remuneration to get the trophies back to their home countries. An example of lion-hunting in Tanzania shows just how much money is brought in by these hunters. The hunting is also regulated, and this allows for structured lion-hunting.

In this sense, it becomes clearer that there may be merits since the lions hunted are mostly males with quotas being set (Songorwa). There is a greater danger from poachers who are illegal hunters as opposed to the legal and possibly helpful hunting from safari hunters. The claim is that this structured form of hunting helps eliminate threats to the pride as the lions to be hunted are marked out by the pride. However, this method is not foolproof and is prone to various loopholes which make it an unsuitable alternative.

On the flip side, this hunting aggressively contributes to the dwindling numbers. In this sense, lions are being systematically reduced. The example of Cecil the lion being killed by an American hunter shows the disregard for the implications that such hunting may have. Cecil was considered a large draw for tourists in Zimbabwe (Hill). By killing such an iconic figure for the paltry sum of $ 50,000 the opportunity cost comes in various tourists who would have wanted to see the famous lion.

It means that the revenue they would have brought has now been lost with the $ 50,000 being compensation for perhaps millions that would have come from other tourists coming to see the lion (Murphy 68). It shows that in the long run it is not feasible as an economic solution. Traditional tourism is more suitable in the long term and more sustainable in terms of conservation efforts. Lion-hunting should be considered illegal due to the clear statistics that show the animal’s numbers are surely reducing (Duim, Lamers and Wijk 5).

In this sense, it becomes necessary to increase efforts to ensure that the decline is halted and reversed lest a jewel of the African plain is lost. Hunting male lions is dangerous to the survival of the pride since when the leader is taken out the other males will kill its cubs so as to start their lineage. It is a ruthless system that is not helped by hunters who target the dominant males in most cases. This is also directly responsible for loss of generations of lions and provides a compelling reason to list the lions as endangered.

From a personal point of view, there are valid arguments on both sides. Lion-hunting for trophies is a major source of revenue especially to the African countries that have lions. It is considered more productive per person when compared with traditional tourism. However, it is important to consider that it is suitable for the short term because the gains from it cannot be maximized. Lion numbers would drastically drop, and since it has to be controlled, the feeling is that it may not be all that feasible.

In many ways, it becomes necessary to view the ecosystem at large with lion numbers dropping fast every year. Conserving these animals is essential to the long run as it allows for a sustainable ecological balance to be maintained. They will also retain their status as income earners through tourism with better advertisement pushes instead being used to lure more tourists as opposed to killing the lions for sport. In summary, the lion needs to be considered an endangered species due to the way in which it is rapidly vanishing (Dickson, Hutton and Adams 120).

The African lion has long been targeted in this respect. Although there may be convincing arguments that would speak in the favor of controlled lion-hunting, the loopholes pose too big a risk for it to be sustainable for the future of the animals. It is important to be indiscriminate in protecting wildlife with the African lion needing a lot of help so as to maintain its existence. It needs to come out strongly that hunting lions for sport is counterproductive and needs to be done away with for the long term improvement of the species from where it currently stands.