The following press release was compiled by a friend of mine to bring to the world's attention a situation that could possibly end in the death of one or more magnificent pride lions in Zambia. I share it here to make it easier to distribute via social media to try and rally those who are concerned about the possibility that someone may hunt one of these lions and plead ignorance about the fact that they should be off limits according to the very code that ethical hunters abide by. We should come together and make certain that it is known that these lions are off limits!
PLEASE – NO MORE CECILS.
A short 15 months after Cecil the Lion was illegally shot and killed in Zimbabwe, a new situation is rapidly developing in neighbouring Zambia, which could lead to very-well known Zambian lions being legally hunted in an area immediately adjoining the country’s premier safari destination, South Luangwa National Park.
The hunt is being conducted in the Upper Lupande GMA. See map here :
The number, species and prices of the animals on quota are listed here on this hunting site [warning: graphic images]:
At risk are two male coalitions, known affectionately as The Hollywood Boys, and Ginger & Garlic. These are big males in their prime with full, intact manes. They are also habituated to photo tourists – as seen from the photo above, donated to us kindly by a friend who saw them just a few weeks ago.
Responsible hunters are ethical hunters. A few years ago, a group of hunters, scientists and an organization representing hunters' interests, The Dallas Safari Club, developed a definition of a huntable male lion as follows: "A huntable male lion is at least six years of age and is not known to head a pride or be part of a coalition heading a pride with dependent cubs".
But both these pairs of lions are ‘pride males’ – i.e. they actively protect and sire cubs in their respective territories. At the time of this writing, they have several litters of dependent cubs. They are also prime age males who can still breed for several years. If one coalition partner is killed, the survivor will likely lose control of his pride to other coalitions nearby. This will inevitably lead to the killing of the existing pride cubs in the 3 or 4 prides that are currently being protected by this quartet. According to researchers, the death of even 1 active pride male can lead to a ‘cascade’ of other deaths.
In addition, Ginger (of the Ginger & Garlic duo) has a condition called 'erythrism', i.e. he doesn't have dark pigments. In him, this translates into an orange tail tip (instead of black), orange back of ears (instead of black), a fully blond mane (not the black mane desired by hunters) and pink toe-pads instead of black ones. There is only one known lion in the whole world with this condition, making him very unique, and he attracts tourists to Luangwa who come here especially to see him. The image of a relaxed Ginger was taken just last week by Chalo Africa in South Luangwa.
We must ensure that Charlton McCallum Safaris, the Zimbabwean hunting outfitters in question, are made aware of the pride status and possible consequences of hunting these pride males. We must also ensure that they abide by their own industry guidelines and adhere to the tagline of their own professional hunting association that says “Ethics is everything”.
Please, let’s have no more Cecils. Let’s keep the Hollywood Boys and Ginger & Garlic alive.
For additional details, please feel free to contact Chalo Africa (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sangeeta Prasad at email@example.com. Anything you can do to get the word out would be greatly appreciated.