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Big Game, Bigger Controversy46:39
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Canned lion hunts and the fate of big game in Africa, after the outrage over Cecil.

In this undated photo provided by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe. Two Zimbabweans arrested for illegally hunting a lion appeared in court Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (AP)
In this undated photo provided by the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Cecil the lion rests in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe. Two Zimbabweans arrested for illegally hunting a lion appeared in court Wednesday, July 29, 2015. (AP)

Outrage over a Minnesota dentist luring the lion Cecil from his preserve in Zimbabwe to be shot and skinned is boiling all over. But there’s more to  know here. A new documentary out of South Africa targets “canned” lion hunts. Lions bred in captivity, petted as cubs, then gunned down as adults in captivity by paying trophy-seekers. Even hunters are revolted. And the even bigger story. The terrible forces – hunting, poaching, and more – that are pushing magnificent big game species across Africa to the edge of extinction. This hour On Point:  beyond Cecil, the state of big game in Africa.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Farai Mutsaka, reporter for the Associated Press. (@mutsakafarai)

Ian Michler, narrator and protagonist in the new documentary, "Blood Lions." Safari operator, specialist wilderness guide and environmental journalist.

Michael Hoffmann, mammologist and senior scientist to the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Survival Commission.

Paula Kahumbu, CEO of the conservation group, WildlifeDirect. Writes the Africa Wild column in The Guardian. (@paulakahumbu)

From Tom’s Reading List

Associated Press: Zimbabweans baffled by foreign concern for killed lion -- "While the death of a protected lion in Zimbabwe has caused outrage in the United States — much of it centered on the Minnesota dentist who killed the animal — most in Zimbabwe expressed a degree of bafflement over the concern. The discovery that Cecil, the star of Zimbabwe national park had been lured out and killed by American bow hunter Walter James Palmer has resulted in online anger and protests at his dental clinic. Outside Zimbabwe's environmental and activist circles, however, the reaction been muted."

Minneapolis Star Tribune: U.S. agencies step up in case of Twin Cities dentist who killed Cecil the lion — "Palmer, 55, a prominent bow hunter and safari enthusiast, acknowledged Tuesday that he shot Cecil with a bow and arrow on July 1. Palmer said in a statement that he thought at the time that the kill was legal, but that he had no idea he was shooting a prized research animal and deeply regrets it."

GQ: Who Wants To Shoot An Elephant? — "There’s been a regulated hunting industry in Botswana since the 1960s. Before the ban took effect, the government was issuing roughly 400 elephant-bull tags per year, of which Jeff Rann was allowed to buy about forty. And counterintuitively, even in the presence of an active bullet-tourism industry, Botswana’s elephant population has multiplied twentyfold, from a low point of 8,000 in 1960 to more than 154,000 today. These healthy numbers, as people like Rann are keen to mention, mirror elephant populations in other African countries where hunting is allowed. Despite a recent uptick in poaching problems, both Tanzania (with 105,000 elephants) and Zimbabwe (with 51,000) have seen similar patterns of population growth. Kenya, on the other hand, banned elephant hunting in 1973 and has seen its elephant population decimated, from 167,000 to 27,000 or so in 2013. Some experts predict that elephants will be extinct in Kenya within a decade."

Watch The Trailer For "Blood Lions"

This program aired on July 31, 2015.

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