Recently we told you about a petition to have African lions listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Now the Safari Club International has responded to the allegations that American sport hunters are a big reason for the decline of African lions.
From this opinion column in the Daily Caller:
_This week, a coalition of animal rights activists filed a petition with the Department of Interior to list African lions as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act — their latest attempt to impose restrictions on hunters. As usual, the activists use sensationalized, emotional messaging that has nothing to do with the science of wildlife conservation. Hunters and hunting actually benefit Africa’s lions — as well as its humans. Revenues from hunting generate $200 million annually in remote rural areas of Africa. This revenue gives wildlife value and humans protect the revenue by protecting the wildlife.
_Placing African lions on the Endangered Species List will effectively end hunting of the animal. When the conservation and financial incentives that hunting provides are lost or mismanaged, the value local communities place on the sustainability of lion populations greatly diminishes. This leads to humans killing lions as a result of human-lion conflict. For example, in lion range states where hunting has been banned, cattle herders are using snares and deadly pesticides to poison and kill lions in high numbers in the interest of protecting their own livelihoods. Other resident wildlife also falls to snares and poisons that target lions.
Human-wildlife conflict is a consistent threat across lion range, but people better tolerate coexisting with lions when lions have an economic value. Ending hunting in countries that currently allow it could spell the end of responsible management of lion populations. Through adaptive management, governments set hunting regulations that are non-detrimental to the health and survival of the game species populations, specifically for lions, as this species generates huge economic revenues for rural communities. Hunting is the most successful tool for maintaining incentives to conserve lions. We are proud to say that Safari Club International Foundation (SCIF) is a true leader in the conservation movement. From the restoration of America’s forests and wildlife at the beginning of the 20th century to the many conservation success stories in Africa today, it has been hunters who have provided the resources to make these successes possible.