African wildlife official says American hunters important for survival of lions

A recent opinion editorial in the New York Times, “Saving Lions by Killing Them,”  was forwarded to me recently.

It’s by the Tanzanian Natural Resources director of wildlife, and addresses the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s considering putting lions on the endangered species list. Such a move would make it illegal to import any parts of African lions, like hides for mounting. Such a ruling would basically stop many American hunters from traveling to the African nation, which, according to the official, could actually harm the species and damage the country’s economy.

Here’s a bit of the director’s published writing -

“In Tanzania, lions are hunted under a 21-day safari package. Hunters pay $9,800 in government fees for the opportunity. An average of about 200 lions are shot a year, generating about $1,960,000 in revenue. Money is also spent on camp fees, wages, local goods and transportation. And hunters almost always come to hunt more than one species, though the lion is often the most coveted trophy sought. All told, trophy hunting generated roughly $75 million for Tanzania’s economy from 2008 to 2011.

The money helps support 26 game reserves and a growing number of wildlife management areas owned and operated by local communities as well as the building of roads, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure — all of which are important as Tanzania continues to develop as a peaceful and thriving democracy.”


Similarly, about 20 years ago famed Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey, said hunting should be allowed again in Kenya as a way to raise funds to help fund wildlife and anti-poaching programs. While heading the Leakey wildlife department, he issued a law that all elephant poachers should be shot on sight.