The world is again shocked, this time by a SHOOT A LION raffle in which the winner either gets a lion trophy he or she shot, or wins a photographic safari for two during which a male lion will be collared for scientific purposes.
This news comes just six months after the world learnt about the game hunter who wounded Cecil the lion with an arrow – forty hours later when he was found, the lion had to be put down with a rifle bullet.
The one hundred WIN A LION raffle tickets sell for $1,500 (£1,015) each. The winner gets an 18 day safari, so says Zimbabwe’s Bubye Valley Conservancy, which is associated with Oxford University. According to its website, it has worked with researchers at Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) on some projects.
The raffle organizers say the lion population in Zimbabwe is high and numbers need to be controlled. Allowing people to pay lots of money to hunt them raises much-needed finance, which goes towards maintaining the species. (Image: bubyevalleyconservancy.com)
David Jones, Conservative MP for Clwyd West, who has lobbied against lion trophy imports, said:
“This is shocking and Oxford University should be distancing itself from this immediately. Events such as this are sickening.”
Shooting lions for fun to raise money
According to Martin Nel Safaris, which is organizing the raffle, it is being conducted to help generate funding reguired to run the Bubye Valley Conservancy Lion research programme.
In July last year the world was shocked at the killing of Cecil the lion in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe by Walter Palmer, an American dentist, who shot him with an arrow ‘for sport’.
After launching its Cecil Appeal, WildCRU attracted hundreds of thousands of pounds. WildCRU (Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at the University of Oxford) described the killing of Cecil – on July 1st, 2014 – as ‘illegal’.
Cecil the lion was a major attraction in Zimbabwe and was being studied and tracked by Oxford University as part of a study. American big-game hunter Walter Palmer, a dentist, wounded Cecil with an arrow. He was tracked, and killed with a rifle 40 hours later.
Head of WIldCRU, Professor David McDonald, said in an interview with the Daily Mail regarding this latest KILL A LION raffle:
“This initiative is nothing to do with me and I have heard nothing about it until now. I would not personally accept funds to my unit based on raffling a lion hunt, but what the Bubye Valley Conservancy decides to do is completely up to them.”
Martin Nel, who will be leading the hunt, told the Daily Mail:
“Everyone who has been actively involved in research in Africa agrees that trophy hunting has its place in conservation on the continent, and BVC’s achievements highlight this fact.”
MP David Jones says such events are ‘sickening’. (Image: twitter.com/DavidJonesMP)
What happens when a male lion is killed?
Following the death of Cecil the lion, David Macdonald wrote in wildcru.org in July last year:
“As you probably know, the natural law in lion society is that when a male dies and his weakened coalition is usurped, the new incoming males kill their predecessors’ cubs. This may not happen because Cecil’s brother is still holding the fort.”
Animal charities worldwide appalled
UK Charity LionAid wrote on its website:
“We were shocked and appalled when we heard the news yesterday that a lion hunt would be offered as a raffle prize to raise money.”
“We do hope that Oxford University’s WildCRU will reconsider their response to this raffle and publicly condemn it as it will occur in one of WildCRU’s lion research project areas.”
Video – Outrage after Cecil the lion was killed