Here’s the real skinny…
Really, when you set out to demolish your opponent, you should refrain from turning over to him your best ammunition. What Adam Cruise, bitter trophy-hunting foe, has done, is hand the lion farmers in South Africa some of the best explosive, match-grade, super-impact magnum cartridges ever to be used in the debate on captive-bred lion hunting.
Cruise uses statistics to sound an urgent alarm. He cites figures from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to indicate that there are not more than 20,000 lions remaining in Africa. Against that backdrop, he says, “it may come as a shock to discover that as many as 10,000 of the continent’s iconic big cats were legally hunted and exported as trophies in the ten years ending in 2013.”
Those two figures register in nuclear-alarm, Defcon 4, bombs-incoming mode in the mind: 20,000 left, 10,000 hunted! Careless reading of the passage may lead one to conclude that the lion has two decades left before the last trophy is carried off to America. But the situation is not as dire as all that. It seldom is with the savage screeching of wildlife alarmists of this ilk.
Mr Cruise is a vehement opponent of captive lions and, bearing in mind that South Africa is the only country with a substantial ranch lion industry, it is easy to guess who the real culprits are in his thinking. This naming-and-shaming he proposes to do with the aid of statistics gleaned from the CITES database. South Africa, he writes, “… ranks highest in terms of trophies exported. The country has registered a staggering average of 748 lion trophies exported per year.”
It looks bad. Especially if one considers that South Africa’s estimated wild lion population stands at 2,100. If the apparent trend continues and 748 lions per year are bagged by trophy hunters, the wild lion population will be wiped off the face of South Africa in a mere three years.
Relax. It is true that South Africa supplies almost 80% of the lion trophies world-wide. But a miniscule number of these are wild lions, ten or fewer per year, Mr Cruise admits glumly. So, less than one half of one percent of the trophies come from wild lions. The rest are supplied by the ranch lion industry so despised by Mr Cruise.
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