A protection group with connections to Oxford University has been condemned for running a 'lion trophy pool', in which wannabe-hunters are being offered the opportunity to slaughter a lion for just $1,500 (R23 500).
Zimbabwe's Bubye Valley Conservancy is putting forth 100 wagers for $1,500 each. The victor will be offered an 18-day lion safari for a single hunter, together with a trophy charge for one male lion.
Another photographic safari of which no hunting will take place, where by a male lion will be captured, collared and excused from the hunt is also up for grabs as a substitute.
The winner will be announced on the 5th Feb 2016, Las Vegas at the Safari Club International Show.
Animal rights activists are not too happy about this raffle, or rather a gamble of a lion’s life, especially after last year’s debate over the killing of Cecil, the most famous Zimbabwean Lion by an American dental practitioner.
The Bubye Valley Conservancy has a relationship with Oxford's Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (Wild CRU).
On its site the Conservancy says: "An on-going Oxford Wild CRU predator research project was originally initiated in the Bubye Valley Conservancy 2009, and confirmed the Conservancy’s fears that their lion population was growing exponentially and could soon start affecting the local ecology."
"From the original 17 animals present in 1999, the Bubye Valley Conservancy lion population was estimated to be approximately 280 individuals in 2009, and has continued to grow. Today it is estimated that there are nearly 500 lions roaming the Conservancy, which is of concern to management and conservationists alike."
"But what do you do with excess lions? There is no space left in Africa for them; everywhere that can have lions already does, and their greatest threat is habitat destruction and intolerance by local communities that encroach on wildlife areas in competition for grazing with the natural prey of lions, and subsequently persecute them in retaliation for killing livestock. And, despite the sensation, responsible trophy hunting cannot significantly affect lion population density or long-term persistence – which is really the definition of sustainable resource management."