Zambia 2017 Lion Forecast


zambia-lion-091216Lion hunting in Zambia is reopening after a few years of closure. Roland Norton, Chairman of the Professional Hunters Association of Zambia, explained what he sees as prospects for lion hunting there this coming year.

“Zambia is an amazing destination for lion,” noted Norton as he described the exclusively open range hunting opportunities. “You can be very confident that if you are going with a reputable outfitter, that you are going to get a really, really good lion,” he emphasized.

Norton’s positive outlook reflects an increased number of older lions in Zambia. Those lions that were two years old when the ban took effect are now five years old, three-year-olds are now six and four-year-olds are now seven.

Norton explained that originally the government tried to set the minimum age for a huntable lion at seven years, but there is no irrefutable way to determine the age of a live wild lion. “We agreed with government to a compromise,” said Norton, “and we agreed that a lion that was five years old or older would be permitted.”

Norton explained how male lions have a productive age, and a post-productive age at which time they become a target for the hunting industry.

lionsonroadblog“When a lion has gone beyond his productive age,” explained Norton, “he becomes a liability to the under lions who are trying to come in and take over his pride and breed his females.”

While nature often moves post-productive male lions aside, Norton pointed out that was a waste when instead hunting such a lion can draw so much revenue into a country and do so much good to a community.

According to Norton, Zambia has always had very good populations of lion and they always considered that they managed the lion populations very well. “The setting of a quota and the harvesting of the lion in a sustainable way is what’s absolutely of paramount importance,” he explained.

The quota for the upcoming hunting season is 24, “…and the lion we have coming up are really, really good quality trophy lion,” said Norton, adding that in his experience, it’s the PH’s professional duty to try and shoot the oldest and most viable trophy he or she can find.

Norton advised those SCI Members interested in hunting lion in Zambia to make sure while at Convention that their outfitter has a lion quota. “[W]e probably are going to have somewhere close to 100 percent success rate on lion this year, which is phenomenal,” he concluded.

SCI members should keep in mind that, in December 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“FWS”) adopted a regulation requiring an importation permit for every African lion hunted on or after January 22, 2016.  To obtain a permit, the hunter/importer must demonstrate that the importation enhances the survival of the species.  At the time of posting, the FWS (1) has not issued any permits for the importation of African lions, (2) has not made either a positive or negative enhancement finding for the importation of lions from Zambia or any other African country, and (3) has not identified the criteria necessary to demonstrate enhancement.  Until the FWS makes a positive enhancement finding, either on a permit-by-permit or country-wide basis, it will not be possible for U.S. hunters to import their legally hunted lions into the United States. 

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6 thoughts on “Zambia 2017 Lion Forecast”

  1. I’m confused. Many lions do not “produce” until age 5, at which point they take over the pride. How is hunting lion sustainable in this context? Can you please clarify this for me? Thank you.

    1. Quote ”Norton explained that originally the government tried to set the minimum age for a huntable lion at seven years, but there is no irrefutable way to determine the age of a live wild lion.” So there is no way to age a wild lion then? Unless quote “We agreed with government to a compromise,” said Norton, “and we agreed that a lion that was five years old or older would be permitted.” So in the 1st sentence he says you can’t age a wild lion, in the 2nd he says a lion has to be at least 5 years old, I assume they ask the lion for his birth certificate then to take away any doubt?

  2. Dave
    You missed the point. 7 years is the target age but there is no way in the field to ensure the exact age of the lion. There fore a compromise of 5 years plus is the rule. Most people simply don’t understand population dynamics of animals. There are far too many male lions most of the time and they kill each other. Hunting older male lions is one of THE most sustainable practices in all of wildlife management.
    Regards
    Philip

  3. I am not a lion hunter:

    how do we best save the lion? let us stop to be political correct, and have focus on what actually works. a good hunter must be the greatest conservationist!
    all efforts, from all angles should be worked on, to save and protect the lions. is hunting one of them?!
    It is difficult to understand, that killing a carefully selected lion, can help to protect the lions. however, if the Cull of an old male lion, without pups, at the right place in the family structure and only few years left to live, can produce a substantial amount of money, which in turn can be used to pay for anti poaching and to pay the farmer not to use poison, what then? will this not at the end ensure a larger population of lions?
    conservationist and hunters should work closely together. just look at the bubye valley Concervancy project in Zimbabwe, which has produced a large population, due to hunting, in cooperation with conservationist.
    with all respect: let us focus on what actually works in real life, in the interest on the lions!

  4. I understand the logic of using the money from hunting to protect the species, and I’m not arguing against it, but is this the only way? I know, “if it pays, it stays”, and the BVC has been very successful, but can simple ecotourism, shooting with the camera as opposed to a gun, be more effective in terms of not only protecting the species but also providing greater amounts of employment opportunities for locals who in many cases have been historically displaced on account of conservation?

    1. i fully agree that ecotourism should be promoted as one of the most effective ways to ensure the population of endangered spices. as I write in my comments “all efforts, from all angles should be worked on, to save and protect the lions. is hunting one of them?!”

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