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How Many Lions Are Killed Every Year in Africa

How Many Lions Are Killed Every Year in Africa
Tourist hunters in Africa kill around 105,000 animals per year, including around 640 elephants, 3,800 buffalo, 600 lions, and 800 leopards.
Cecil the lion, around 600 Lions Are Killed Each Year in Africa
Cecil the lion
Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer allegedly lured Cecil out of Hwange National Park which is a protective reserve in Zimbabwe; shot Cecil the lion with a bow, tracked Cecil for 20-40 hours, killed him then skinned and beheaded the 13-year-old lion pride master. 

Zimbabwe started extradition proceedings and hopes the U.S. will cooperate, said Oppah Muchinguri, the African nation's environment minister. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are also investigating the circumstances of Cecil the lion's death.

Cecil was collared and part of Oxford University conservation study, and after the kill the GPS tracking collar was destroyed. Palmer allegedly paid $50,000 to hunt the lion with a crossbow near Hwange National Park in western Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe authorities ultimately decided not to charge Palmer in Cecil’s death, saying the paperwork for the hunt appeared to have been in order.

Theodore Bronkhorst, professional hunting guide had been charged with failing to prevent an illegal hunt after luring the prized lion out of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park for Palmer, but a judge ruled that the expedition leader didn’t do anything wrong.

Around 600 Lions Are Killed Each Year in Africa

Eleven countries in Africa allow big game hunting in the wild

·        Benin
·        Botswana
·        Burkina Faso
·        Cameroon
·        Central African Republic
·        Ethiopia
·        Namibia
·        South Africa
·        Tanzania
·        Zambia
·        Zimbabwe


Countries where all the members of the big five can be found include Angola, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Malawi.

According to Wildlife Extra, around 18,500 tourist hunters go big game hunting in Africa every year. Hunts are organized by approximately 1,300 organizations that employ around 3,400 guides and 15,000 local staff. 

On average, a hunting safari organization will only have an average of 14.5 hunt clients per year and each guide will only take 5.5 hunters out annually. The question remains if hunting safari tourism generates income for Africa or does it pay for itself.

Big Five mammals are the elephant, lion, leopard, water buffalo, and rhino. According to Wildlife, Extra Tourist hunters kill around 105,000 animals per year, including around 640 elephants, 3,800 buffalo, 600 lions, and 800 leopards. The term Big Five in refers to Africa's most popular sightseeing wildlife animals.

Such quantities are not necessarily reasonable. It can be noted for example, that killing 600 lions out of a total population of around 25,000 which is 2.4%of the population is not sustainable. A hunting trip usually lasts from one to three weeks, during which time each hunter kills an average of two to ten animals, depending on the country. 

Africa is the only place in the world to see the Big Five Animals, the African lion is classified as vulnerable, the African leopard is classified as near threatened, the black rhinoceros is classified as critically endangered, and the African buffalo or Cape buffalo population is declining rapidly.


Canned Lion Hunting is a Legal Hunting Sport


The great majority of lion populations in Africa have declined. Every single day in South Africa, around three caged bred lions are being killed in canned hunts while hundreds more are slaughtered annually for the lion bone trade.

Captive lion breeders argue it is better that lion trophy hunter’s shoot a captive-bred lion than a wild lion. Wild populations of lions have declined by 80% in 20 years, so the rise of lion farms and canned hunting has not protected wild lions. There are around 200 such farms and ranches legally breeding big cats in South Africa for canned hunting.

A canned hunt is where animals have been raised on farms or game reserves until they are mature enough to be killed. Lions are hunted in a confined area increasing the chances of the hunter attaining a kill. There are now more lions held in captivity, upwards of 5,000 in Africa than live wild, about 2,000.

Hunting of Animals in Fenced in Farms Captive lion breeders argue it is better that lion trophy hunter’s shoot a captive-bred lion than a wild lion. In the Free State province of South Africa, there are up to 8,000 captive lions spread across 200 farms and ranches, according to the South African Predator Association. Farms and ranches breed lions eventually to be killed by trophy hunters mainly from North America and Europe.

One private hunting farm is located in Alldays, notorious for what is known as driven hunts during which hunter’s fire at animals from the back of a truck. Alldays is a small town in the Limpopo province of South Africa that serves a large area of private game and hunting farms and the surrounding villages of Vivo and Dendron serve an extensive area of private game and hunting farms.

Canned lion hunting on lion farms and private hunting reserves in South Africa guarantee hunter’s easy trophy heads in exchange for upwards of $50,000 by hunting lions born and breed in cages. The documentary Blood Lions exposes South Africa’s controversial canned lion hunting industry. 

Some African countries such as Botswana, where all trophy hunting was stopped in 2013 because of the government’s concerns over lion population declines are honoring the life of the iconic King of the jungle. Australia became the first country, in February 2015, to ban imports of lion trophies, followed by France in November 2015.

Eleven countries in Africa allow big game hunting in the wild


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