I read with interest the feature article in the Oxford Today Vol 28 No2 on Cecil the lion and wish to congratulate Prof Macdonald for the excellent work he and his colleagues are doing for the betterment of wildlife and in particularly for the lions of Zimbabwe. I am however concerned with some statements in the article. It implies that 90% of the number of lions that were there a century ago have vanished – a very good reason to introduce a total ban on the trophy hunting of lions and indeed other wild animals. There should also be severe fines if proved. If this is not followed very soon the only thing left to call a ‘lion’ will be the heads of lions mounted on the walls of the trophy hunters (or their descendants).
As man encroaches the habitat of the wild animals in order to acquire more land for farming or industry it will be inevitable that some will be killed by the farmers – either through revenge for killing one of the family members by the lions or just to protect their farm or property. It is also sickening to note that if one is prepared to pay up to $100,000 then it will be easy to get a ‘licence to kill’. No wonder the Zimbabwe authorities issued a statement to the effect that ‘regulated and well-managed, responsible and ethical hunting can provide multiple benefits in Zimbabwe to local communities and the national economy’.
I urge the Professor to use his good offices to request a total ban and a severe fine for ‘trophy killing’ of wild animals anywhere in Africa.