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Kgalagadi lioness

When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity. George Bernard Shaw

 

Lion populations in Africa are declining rapidly to the extent that they are now regarded as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The biggest threat to lion is habitat loss due to urban and rural development, the human population explosion and the resultant conflict between humans and lions.

 

Sixty years ago southern Africa had approximately 200 000 lions. Nowadays there are only about 1 600 in the Kruger National Park, Botswana has 300, Namibia 750 and in Angola there are only 600. Zimbabwe’s population cannot be determined due to the political and socio-economic problems prevalent in this country.

 

Those that are left in South Africa are restricted to protected areas where they may not be hunted, and those bred in captivity specifically to meet the demand of trophy hunters - approximately 4000 to 5000 lions. A trophy hunt is essentially a canned hunt in which the animal is kept in a confined area, such as in a fenced-in area, increasing the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill. These lions are habituated to humans, many of them having been hand-reared, and thus do not stand a chance. In many instances they are killed as soon as they are released from their cages. What an arrogant, despicable and most cowardly act on the part of the man or woman discharging the gun!!

 

The industry thrives in both South Africa and North America, although South Africa holds the unfortunate title of providing the most lion trophies from canned hunts. A few years ago animal rights activists attempted to have this practice abolished in South Africa but lion breeders won the ensuing court case. Money talks....

 

This photograph of a free lioness was taken two years ago at Houmoed in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The estimated size of the lion population in Kgalagadi is 450.

 

© Gerda van Schalkwyk. This photograph and all others on this photostream are protected by copyright and may not be used on any site, blog or forum without my permission.

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Taken on March 30, 2010