Lion trophies will not be banned from the UK
The British Conservative Party have gone back on a pledge to ban the import of lion trophies taken from hunting. In 2015 and 2017 the British government released statements stating that unless they saw a significant change in the hunting industry that this ban would come into place. According to widespread analysis there has been no change whatsoever, with a significant for the fall in numbers in that time. It should be noted that Zac Goldsmith, a prominent Conservative MP, has made a petition that 150 conservative MPs have signed that calls for this ban to go into effect.
Few British people hunt lions compared to certain other countries in the world and only an average of around six bodies are imported each year. However, the message it would send to the rest of the world would be highly important and would be seen as continuing the British line of supporting conservation worldwide.
The British government did state that this is constantly under review and lion bodies are only given the right to be brought back to the UK if they came from particular parts of the world. While I dislike the concept of hunting wild lions there are a few places, as I have argued in previous articles, where this is the only method to bring in enough money to continue to support the areas conservation. One such area is the Selous.
Cecil the Lion’s death bizarrely increased the number of British Hunters
Cecil the lion was killed a few years ago in a canned hunt (A lion raised in captivity, often allowed to be petted by tourists when young, released into a relatively small area, and usually killed within a few months) in South Africa. This hunting is totally unsportsmanlike and therefore does not seem to fit into the general ‘good sport’ rules of hunting. Lions are bred in captivity are often used financially to pose with tourists when they are young. When old enough they are released into a relatively small area, often without the skills to hunt for themselves, and are generally short by sportsman within a short period of time.
Despite the majority of the British population thinking that Cecil the Lion’s death was disgusting (as he was tempted out of a national park by meat being left out and then shot as soon as he walked across a line that he did not know existed) it would appear that this is not how it went across in hunting circles as it has had a significant impact with far more people going to take part in these sorts of unsportsmanlike hunts. While the number of lions hunted by Brits is significantly lower than the number hunted by Americans, we fall in 12th place in terms of the numbers of lion carcasses imported annually. This is not an area that I wish the UK to rate highly in the world.
Trump administration has reversed a ban on importing elephant body parts from hunts
Donald Trump has stated in the past that the hunting lobby was disgusting and it should be banned from bringing back trophies. Not long after Ryan Zinke, the interior secretary, reversed this position announcing that each one would be reviewed individually.
This is in response to a suit filed by the safari club and the NRA against the blanket ban. It should be noted that none of these people are unbiased observers. Trump’s two sons are avid hunters as is Ryan Zinke.
Both elephants and lions have in the last few decade lost much habitat, and in the case of lions gone through irregular poaching epidemics. They have gone from being relatively numerous: in the case of lions 400,000 in 1950 down to under 20,000 and elephants 3 to 5 million down to around 415,000. This kind of dramatic collapse of numbers show they are highly threatened and given the continual poaching and loss of habitat this threat is only likely to get worse.