Zambia lifts hunting ban on big cats

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Nine months after lifted its general ban—including on elephants—the country has now lifted its ban on hunting African lions () and leopards (). The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) lifted the ban after surveying its big cat populations and setting new regulations.

During the announcement the country’s Minister of Tourism and Arts, Jean Kapata, said the ban had resulted in significantly lost revenue for game managers. Kapata also said that hunting would not begin until next season (2016-2017), but hunting would begin immediately. Though she added, “with very cautionary quotas.”

But the move was condemned by Zambia’s Green Party.

Lions in South Africa’s . Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

“We all know that the number of lions and other big cat species in Zambia’s major parks is depleted and limited due to poaching and other anthropogenic activities,” Peter Sinkamba, the Green Party’s president, told the Lusaka Times. According to Sinkamba, Zambia was home to somewhere between 2,500-4,700 lions in 2013.

Leopard in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.

But he said “these are just crude estimates since successive governments after Dr Kaunda’s UNIP, have over the years failed to sustain a continuous wildlife census system.”

LionAid, a conservation group, has said it believes that there are no more than 400 lions left in Zambia.

In recent decades, lions have been decimated across Africa. Facing booming human populations, loss of habitat, decline in prey, snaring, and human-wildlife conflict which has resulted in poaching, poisoning, and spearing lions to death, conservationists estimate that today there are as few as 32,000 lions in Africa. This represents a 68 percent drop in 50 years.

Leopards are also believed to be in decline, though in less danger than lions. But leopard population estimates have proven far less rigorous than those for lions and the species faces many of the same troubles as lions, including habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and snaring.

Currently, the considers lions as Vulnerable and leopards as Near .

This article was first published by on 01 Jun 2015.


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Lemuel Simon

I wish it had something to poverty, sorry that is an ideal statement. It's more about greedy African Political leaders who will do anything and everything to fill their empty packet and at any expense. It's just a shame…

Linda French

What a disappointment. I wonder just why these decisions are being made. Is it corruption? Is it their lack of seeing the future. Do they think people go to Africa to just go to the cities. Most o all visitors to Africa go to see the lovely wildlife they are so fortunate to have. They truly do not understand what it would mean not to have these lovely animals no more. It is so frustrating.

Fran Occupy Hoef-Bouchard

It's unfortunate that so many leaders of African countries who want to pull themselves out of poverty resort to such primitive and archaic methods to generate revenue. No vision of their futures. Without these great wild animals their countries will become wastelands. No longer will there be the desire for others to visit and spend money. They will be left to the mercy of big outside corporate investors who will swindle them out of every last resource they have left. Wake up Africa. Save those animals and your other natural resources.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

an abject disgrace 🙁

Maria Manuela Lopes

Shame and Disgusting

Karen Jeffery

Disgusting!! Horrible!! Greedy damn people!!!

Diane Pizza

Damn it- just suck and wrong wrong wrong!

Terence Hale

“Zambia lifts hunting ban on big cats”. I will ask my government to stop financial AID to Zambia.

Anne Mathis