Lion Hunt Raffle Cancelled
Martin Nel, a professional hunter in Zimbabwe announced he was canceling the plan to raffle a lion hunt. The raffle was to be held at a hunter’s convention in Las Vegas next month where Nel hoped to sell 100 raffle tickets for $1,500 each.
A Britain based group, LionAid, expressed outrage at the proposed raffle which drew attention to the heated debate about whether trophy hunting harms vulnerable species or helps them as a whole by raising funds for conservation.
Nel stated the raffle winner could have chosen to have a lion collared for research, and that the raffle was designed to raise funds for conservation studies at Zimbabwe’s Bubye Valley Conservancy.
The conservancy answered back defending its record, stating cattle ranchers had wiped out lions, rhinos, elephants and other wildlife in the area decades ago. However, since its establishment in 1994, the conservancy says they reintroduced lions in 1999 and have a population of nearly 500 currently as well as a significant number of endangered black rhinos.
WildCRU Doe Not Endorse Any Proposal to Auction a Lion Hunt
WildCRU, a wildlife research group based at Oxford University in Britain, operates at Zimbabwe’s Bubye Valley Conservancy, and announced it did not endorse any proposal to auction a lion hunt and would not accept any donation from this type of event. WildCRU is the research group that was studying Cecil, the lion killed by Walter Palmer, last summer. The lion’s death sparked unprecedented outcry from the public.
In a statement, Nel claimed there were more lions in Zimbabwe’s hunting areas than in the country’s national parks. He continued by saying, “Without well-managed hunting operations, many hunting areas would go back to goats and cattle at the expense of the wildlife and their habitat – how can that be considered a win for conservation?”
Somewhere in the Gray Lies the Solution
Even if Nel comes off as despicable for planning to raffle a lion hunt, and no matter how repugnant the thought of killing a lion for sport is to us, maintaining wild habitat is crucial to the survival of not only the African lion but all wildlife. Conservation of species is complex and complicated and does not lend itself to be governed by a set of black and white rules. Somewhere in the gray lies the solution to save the species.