egilio

A tense situation arising in South Luangwa

181 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

@@janzin - thanks for the update & hope your news is correct. And I fully support your decision to go ahead with your plans to visit - without photo tourism, it would all just revert to 'taking' lions (jeez, are they kidnapping lions that they cannot use the words 'shoot' or 'hunt' or 'kill'?)

 

Awaiting more updates on my end & will post as soon as I hear something more definite.

 

We are not discussing the pros & cons of hunting here, so there's no need for us to get distracted by that canard. However, I can't help but say that the analogy below confounds me:

 

"What we need to consider in discussing this is that more lions are killed fighting amongst each other and in protecting live stock in the village than are taken by hunters."

 

Yes, and more people die natural deaths each year than are killed by famine, floods or pestilence. Does that mean we should ignore famine, floods or pestilence?

 

"The money the hunting generates supports whole communities and is hugely important for the development of infrastructure. Wildlife in the GMAs is sparse and so few lions are permanent residents in these areas. Garlic and Ginger occasionally wander into the GMA and the Hollywood pride seldom leave the park at all"

 

This is the part that really interests me. Can they tell us exactly how much of the $65000 hunt revenues are actually coming back to the local community? If there were 4 lions on quota and they have been hunted already - then let us assume for a moment that a minimum of $200000 was generated this year from these lions. What number will be returned to the communities that have 'grown' these lions to maturity? How much money (in actual $ per person) came back the last year for which we have data? Is there anyone out there who is following the numbers and the money?

Edited by Sangeeta
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Posted (edited)

@@wilddog - just a quick question though I have no knowledge about the legalities in question.

 

Would RPS's response to @@janzin not simply be considered a response to a customer, and aren't most people on ST potential customers, to whom the company would have said much the same thing had they asked the same questions? Although I don't know who wrote to @@janzin, it was likely a representative of the company, writing on behalf of the company.

 

There is nothing in the post that reflects negatively on the company - rather they seem to be just stating how they see things from their point of view.

 

That puts it in a different light compared to something like sharing / publicizing personal exchanges between friends etc. At least that's how it seems to me. Perhaps Matt knows more.

Edited by Sangeeta
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@@Sangeeta........that is why I have tagged Matt in my initial response to Janzin's post 22.

 

I am sure he will correct me if I a wrong

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All I know is that last week a lion was most likely taken in the GMA north of Nsefu, and not any of the lions discussed here.

Yesterday a lion seemed to have been taken in Upper Lupande but no idea as to which lion it was.

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Best if for now, the post is edited pending a response from RPS giving permission or otherwise. Sorry, have only just seen the updates here.

 

Matt

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Posted (edited)

@@Game Warden oh I see you've edited it; that's fine.

 

The only other thing worth mentioning is that I was told the quota for that area is four lions. However, that is in 2016 I'd presume. Who knows what it will be in 2017. And then there's leopard too...I was really disturbed to see on the aforementioned Charles McCallum site that they plan to hunt "extensively" in the Upper Lupande GMA in 2017.

 

It seems like these quotas should be public information and available somewhere, but I can't find any info.

Edited by janzin
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@@janzin - I am in the process of collating a bunch of facts about quotas etc that I'll post here a bit later.

 

But first of all, let's try and ascertain if the 4 aforementioned lions are indeed safe, and if the quota of 4 stands. Some of the stuff I have been reading shows that more lions may be on quota than just 4, so we need to check on that.

 

From what I understand, the Hollywood boys are seen by Kaingo, Lion camp, Remote Africa (Tafika), and Mchenja (Norman Carr Safaris). The Spice boys (Garlic and Ginger) are seen by virtually everybody except Remote Africa (Kaingo and Lion Camp may see them on transfers through the main game area to get to their camps). So will these camps/lodges please confirm the status of the Hollywood & Spice Boys as of today?

 

Please can RPS, Shenton, Remote Africa & Norman Carr update us on their status as of today? If any of you have visited or are intending to visit one if these camps, could you drop them a line asking?

 

Thank you for helping.

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The famous lions might be safe for now ..... But, it's still a shame that the other lions and their potential prides are lost?

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A Safari-talker @@stokeygirl is in Zambia right now and visiting some of those camps. I know she was in South Luangwa in recent weeks. Perhaps she can update us when she returns. (She hasn't posted here in quite awhile but she is active on TripAdvisor Zambia forum.)

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Posted (edited)

The famous lions might be safe for now ..... But, it's still a shame that the other lions and their potential prides are lost?

 

Exactly! And please let's not forget the leopards too. One of the major draws of SLNP for photo-tourism. At least they aren't hunting wild dogs.

Edited by janzin

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Posted (edited)

One more thing, 200k for those lions is insignificant amount compared to what all these camps make collectively - they surely have a say?

EDIT - this comment is more towards the Lions that they see during their activities - (I do realise there is no ownership of them and the hunters are legally able to hunt them).

Edited by madaboutcheetah
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Please do let us know if you hear anything from StokeyGirl, @@janzin. Not much news coming in from anywhere to ID the lion shot in Upper Lupande, though I am trying...

 

Posting something else for all to read here (including something on leopards), but it may do better in a thread of its own. Anyway here goes...

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In this topic, I am not trying to resurrect the that old pro-and anti-hunting debate.

 

In this topic, I am simply examining ONE park – South Luangwa National Park in Zambia- and trying to understand whether lion hunting is a sustainable enterprise here, and if so, what benefits does this bring to the park and to the local communities.

 

To set the stage, South Luangwa NP is 9050 covers an area of sq. kms and is bordered by several GMAs or hunting concessions. These are:

 

preview.jpg

As you can see, these GMAs put together are vastly larger than the park itself. In fact, just Lower Lupande, Upper Lupande and Mwanya Lumimba cover about 7500 sq. kilometers by themselves, and the average distance to the park boundaries from these GMAs is roughly 15 kms. However, even though these are very large areas, most of the terrain is not huntable. As RPS stated, there is simply not a lot of game – either predator or prey – and most wildlife is concentrated along the great Luangwa river. The most obvious reasons for this scarcity of wildlife in these GMAs could be lack of water, bushmeat hunting etc.

 

So the immediate questions that come to mind are these:

1) Have these GMAs all been leased out as hunting concessions?

2) If so, why are the hunting companies not digging or pumping waterholes deeper inside their concessions to provide water for their animals? How effective are their anti-poaching and snare removal programs? How do they interact with their local communities? Do they provide incentives that could prevent poaching or retaliatory killing?

3) Those of you who know this area well, please could you let me know the names of the GMA lessees or the hunters who practice in these various concessions?

 

I have read some scientific & non-scientific papers that were written fairly recently about lion and leopard hunting around Zambia – and more particularly around South Luangwa.

 

This one by Creel et al. provides solid scientific data about the effects of hunting on lions near SLNP

 

1) http://www.montana.edu/screel/Webpages/SLNP%20lion%20harvest%20assessment.pdf

 

Abstract: Large carnivores are in rapid global decline, with a broad array of consequences for the ecosystems they inhabit. To efficiently detect and address these declines requires unbiased and precise demographic data. Unfortunately, the characteristics that make large carnivores extinction-prone also pose serious challenges to obtaining these data. Rapid survey methods exist, but provide only relative measures of abundance, cannot detect declines before they become large, and provide little or no information about the causes of decline. African lions (Panthera leo) are declining throughout their range, making accurate monitoring of remaining populations urgent. We provide statistically rigorous estimates of population size, trends, survival rate and age–sex structure from Zambia’s South Luangwa lion population from 2008 to 2012, just prior to cessation of hunting in 2013. Mark-recapture models fit to data from intensive monitoring of 210 individual lions in 18 prides and 14 male coalitions indicated a declining population, low recruitment, low sub-adult and adult male survival, depletion of adult males, and a senescing adult female population. Trophy hunting was the leading cause of death, with 46 males harvested. Based on these data we recommend continuing the hunting ban at least to 2016 to allow recovery, with substantially reduced quotas, age-limits, and effective trophy monitoring mandated thereafter should hunting resume. Similar data from intensive monitoring of key Zambian lion populations is required to evaluate effects of the hunting ban and provide management guidance. Effectively integrating intensive long-term monitoring and rapid survey methods should be a priority for future management and monitoring of carnivore species.

 

For those of you who don’t want to plough through the whole paper, here are the salient points:

 

1) Hunting resulted in population declines over a 25-year period…with large declines for quotas greater than 1 lion/concession (or about 0.5 lions/1000 kms2) and by hunting males younger than 7 years.

 

2) Hunting requires periods of recovery – in other words, if you hunt for some years in succession, then you have to stop hunting for some years in succession.

 

3) If this policy were to be adopted – i.e. hunting only 1 lion per 1000 sq kms, only male lions older than 7 and after giving proper recovery periods, then the risk of extirpation falls.

 

4) To conclude: if more than 1 lion is hunted per 1000 sq kilometers then the risk of extirpation increases to > 10%. If lions under 7 years old are hunted, then this risk climbs even higher. If you don’t provide recovery periods, then this risk goes higher still.

 

5) The paper does not factor in the risks posed by snaring which are substantial in this area. Add that to the mix, and these numbers quickly become unsustainable.

 

6)The paper concludes that when there is continuous hunting and when males of 5 years are allowed to be hunted, then 75% of all simulations show that the lion population of SLNP could become extinct due to hunting.

 

Now look at this diagram:

 

gallery_5686_412_58478.jpg

The various colored dots show pride movement and the red + marks are locations where lions have been shot.

 

- Clearly, there are very few lions residing in the GMAs, so the lions that are being hunted are essentially ‘park’ lions. Otherwise, we’d be seeing more of those red + marks deeper inside the GMAs.

 

- We all know how easy it is to bait and lure animals from inside the park to within the GMA boundaries (Cecil is a case in point).

 

- In their note to @@janzin, @@RPS said that most of these lions never enter the GMAs. So if lions are shot within the GMAs, just across the border, then it is not unreasonable to assume that something unusual attracted them to the other side.

 

Now please read this very recent article from the Lusaka Times [warning – graphic images]

 

https://www.lusakatimes.com/2016/10/04/zambia-set-reopen-lion-hunting-2017/

 

1) First of all, it’s rubbish to say that lion hunting will open in 2017. As we all know, it is already open.

 

2) Mr. Norton, the conservation-minded Chairman of the Zambian Professional Hunters Association says in the article –” The setting of a quota and the harvesting of the lion in a sustainable way is what’s absolutely of paramount importance”, and he goes on to explain all about reproductive age etc.

 

3) But then he goes on to say this about the 6-year rule that was proposed by the government: “We agreed with government to a compromise,” said Mr. Norton, “and we agreed that a lion that was five years old or older would be permitted.

 

4) And why so? Because it is apparently hard to distinguish a 5-year old lion from a 6-year old lion!

 

5) By that logic, it would be equally hard to distinguish a 4-year old from a 5-year old, or a 6-year old from a 7-year old.

 

6) The proposed quota was indeed 1 lion per GMA, but it looks very likely that there are at least 2 per concession.

 

This is better than the pre-ban numbers, but how this adds up to” the setting of a quota and the harvesting of the lion in a sustainable way is what’s absolutely of paramount importance”?

 

And hasn’t it just been shown without a shadow of a doubt in the Creel paper above that shooting lions under 7 years of age is not sustainable? In the Luangwa Valley, where there is thick bush and no access to the type of migratory prey species as seen in the Serengeti, the huntable age has been shown to be 7, not 6 (which is the case in Tanzania) because they start reproducing later in Luangwa.

 

But you see, “We agreed with government to a compromise,” said Mr. Norton, “and we agreed that a lion that was five years old or older would be permitted.

 

There’s so much bullshit being bandied around, it’s hard to keep up with it.

 

Here’s an arguably ‘biased’ letter from the anti-hunting side. I have included it here in this topic, not for its conclusions, but for the facts and figures it presents re: Zambian lion populations. And for its citations, which may be useful to those wanting to investigate further.

 

2) https://iwbond.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/IWB_Rory-Stewart-MP_I03_3-May-2016.pdf

 

So let’s just concentrate on Zambia as an example of the muddled thinking that seems apparent (and can be read-across to many other examples/range states):

 

Zambia recently announced a lion trophy hunting quota for 2016 of 24 lions (announced by Zambia’s Minister of Tourism and Arts, Jean Kapata), when there is no clear census of the lion population in country apart from monitored subpopulations ‘protected’ in national parks.

 

Estimates suggest (2) that the monitored lion sub-populations in Zambia’s three largest national parks (Kafue- 264 assessed in 2011, South Luangwa – 94 assessed in 2012, Lower Zambezi – 11-34 assessed in 2009), might be as low at 307 – 465 lions in total. A lion population of 500 is widely considered the minimum population size (Packer et al., 2011) to sustain an adequate gene pool, and/or survive other overbearing threats, or stochastic events (as being witnessed in South Africa’s Kruger National Park lion population and Bovine Tuberculosis) (3) having a potentially devastating impact on the population. There is no monitored Zambian subpopulation greater than 500 lions.

 

The South Luangwa lion population is declining (2) and not expanding with very low sub-adult and adult male survival rates, combining depletion of adult males with a biologically ageing (senescence) female population. So lion ‘dynamics’ for successful, sustainable reproduction rates were already ‘challenged’ before trophy hunters were again permitted to ‘”harvest” key pride members. The primary cause of male mortality (2008 – 2012) was considered to be trophy hunting(2), with 46 of the park’s male lions killed for trophies (Rosenblatt et al., 2014).

 

 

There are no reliable counts of lions resident in hunting concessions. It should be noted, that Zambia’s hunting concessions (conveniently) border directly onto the ‘protected’ national parks, with past reports(2) of hunters baiting lions out of ‘protected’ park boundaries in order to obtain their (needless) lion kill/trophy. In the absence of any reliable hunting concession lion population data, the only means hunters can “harvest” lions for any given hunting quota (“off-take”) is by relying on the monitored and ‘protected’ lion populations in national parks. Therefore, any lion “off-take” has no recognisable scientific or ‘sustainable’ basis - in Zambia it can only be based on known and supposedly ‘protected’ lion population numbers (and there are not that many lions there either to support such “off-take” without significant conservation risks).

 

To further compound the lack of scientific foundation for Zambia’s stated lion “offtake” of 24 lions set for 2016, the Zambian Government ‘chooses’ to believe the fantasy that there might be between 1,500 – 2,500 lions in country. However, the Zambian Government/Authorities failed to reply to UNEP-WCMC(2) in 2015 on how the Zambian Government had arrived at their ‘guesstimate.’ It should be noted that quotas are often based, in-part on operators’ recommendations – not verifiable science, but on “operators” with a vested interest in setting lion population estimates and “offtake” quotas high.

A hunting quota of 24 Zambian lions (2016) is very close to the “5% of any scientifically proven population” (possibly 500, or less in Zambia’s case) recommended as a Trophy Hunting quota: “for a quota to be considered sustainable for lions, it should be limited to no more than 5 percent of the population” - Creel and Creel, 1997

 

Here’s one paper that examines leopard hunting in Zambia

 

3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4864144/

 

Abstract: Human activities on the periphery of protected areas can limit carnivore populations, but measurements of the strength of such effects are limited, largely due to difficulties of obtaining precise data on population density and survival. We measured how density and survival rates of a previously unstudied leopard population varied across a gradient of protection and evaluated which anthropogenic activities accounted for observed patterns. Insights into this generalist's response to human encroachment are likely to identify limiting factors for other sympatric carnivore species. Motionsensitive cameras were deployed systematically in adjacent, similarly sized, and ecologically similar study areas inside and outside Zambia's South Luangwa National Park (SLNP) from 2012 to 2014. The sites differed primarily in the degree of human impacts: SLNP is strictly protected, but the adjacent area was subject to human encroachment and bushmeat poaching throughout the study, and trophy hunting of leopards prior to 2012. We used photographic capture histories with robust design capture–recapture models to estimate population size and sexspecific survival rates for the two areas. Leopard density within SLNP was 67% greater than in the adjacent area, but annual survival rates and sex ratios did not detectably differ between the sites. Prior research indicated that wiresnare occurrence was 5.2 times greater in the areas adjacent to the park. These results suggest that the low density of leopards on the periphery of SLNP is better explained by prey depletion, rather than by direct anthropogenic mortality. Longterm spatial data from concurrent lion studies suggested that interspecific competition did not produce the observed patterns. Large carnivore populations are often limited by human activities, but sciencebased management policies depend on methods to rigorously and quantitatively assess threats to populations of concern. Using noninvasive robust design capture–recapture methods, we systematically assessed leopard density and survival across a protection gradient and identified bushmeat poaching as the likely limiting factor. This approach is of broad value to evaluate the impacts of anthropogenic activities on carnivore populations that are distributed across gradients of protection.

 

I am going to leave it at this today. Section 2 will be on the finances, revenue distribution and benefits to the communities.

I am very grateful to some friends who have helped me research & collate this information & who have explained the data to me. I am sorry I cannot mention their names publicly, but I did want to mention that others have worked hard at putting this together.

 

 

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Matt, if you can reduce the size of that first map, I'd appreciate it. I couldn't figure out how to do that. Thank you!

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The so called males Ginger & Garlic territory is well away from the Nsefu sector. They were alive and well in late Sept' in the park opposite Kafunta River lodge.

 

I saw 5 big males in the Hollywood prides territory also in late Sept'. 3 were the so named Numbu boys and 2 new males that Patrick from Mwamba camp had never seen before. At the time the Hollywood males were across the river in the Nsefu sector. The Numbu boys were trying to extend their range and were busy chasing the Hollywood females and also mating with the Mwamba/Kaingo females. Unfortunately there are a number of young cubs in both prides that might be killed by the Numbu males. I watched one of the Numbu males chase 2 one year old males from the Kaingo/Mwamba pride whilst their mother was mating with another male.

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That's a very interesting post @@Sangeeta and I look forward to Part 2.

 

Personally I wish it wasn't posted on Page 2 of this thread. Of course people have an idea about all this, even me (which of course is why I supported your announcement of the dreaded petition) but I personally would like to see this posted in the open. It's kind of insulated here by a layer of bunny warmth on page 1 and I am not sure all of those who could learn something from it would ever see it. Also, although Internet discussion is often unappetizing it would actually add a kind of "peer review" to this. But perhaps it has already had a sort of peer review in various posts in the past? Fair enough, if so.

 

One immediate thought. While the map of lion killings is damning, there is surely a natural tendency for wildlife and therefore lions to be drawn to the river. As a lion it is where I would go to hunt. It is also likely to be prettier and have fewer tsetses than the areas away from the river, so more attractive to hunters and even trackers all else being equal, It would be very interesting to see a breakdown of lion sightings in the national park too, at least from a couple of camps, to show that the lion killing sites are not simply where the lions tend to be, on both sides of the river. Collared lion tracking data would likely offer an even better demonstration. I also imagine that lions tend to cross the river at certain times of year, when water levels are low? Is that true and if so have you checked that the killings occurred at times of year when lions would cross?

 

Also if you are going to share this more widely, regardless of personal opinion you might want to add an explanation of why, theoretically, GMAs are generally agreed to be a decent idea and why hunting has historically been seen as the only way to sustain the GMAs. It might take any discussion (actual or just in someone's head) straight to the issue at hand rather than getting tied up in whether hunting in the GMAs is good for conservation.

 

But that's just me!

 

Great work Sangeeta and anonymous conspirators. Much respect to you for the effort.

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I just saw that you asked Matt to do what I suggested. Great minds think alike. Ignore the first bit then! I'll see whether I should transfer my post too later... It's not all that substantial.

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Thank you @@Sangeeta for this detailed report, excellent research. I must say its especially dismaying to see the map of the lion kills, and how they are almost all right by the river, (understandably, as was pointed out) and even more disturbing, how most were in very close proximity to safari camps.

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One immediate thought. While the map of lion killings is damning, there is surely a natural tendency for wildlife and therefore lions to be drawn to the river. As a lion it is where I would go to hunt. It is also likely to be prettier and have fewer tsetses than the areas away from the river, so more attractive to hunters and even trackers all else being equal, It would be very interesting to see a breakdown of lion sightings in the national park too, at least from a couple of camps, to show that the lion killing sites are not simply where the lions tend to be, on both sides of the river. Collared lion tracking data would likely offer an even better demonstration. I also imagine that lions tend to cross the river at certain times of year, when water levels are low? Is that true and if so have you checked that the killings occurred at times of year when lions would cross?

 

You are right, lions are naturally attracted to the river. As game populations are higher there, and they need to drink regularly too.

But look at the map, the colored dots are exactly what you ask for, locations of radio collared lions, with each color representing a different pride. You can see that most prides spend at least some time in the GMA.

There are no kill sites inside the park, as hunting isn't allowed inside the park.

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What a great post and a well done summary of available facts of which some might be hard to access or understand for some people. If anybody has any more questions on the paper from Creel, or on the leopard paper, please let me know!

 

Estimates suggest (2) that the monitored lion sub-populations in Zambia’s three largest national parks (Kafue- 264 assessed in 2011, South Luangwa – 94 assessed in 2012, Lower Zambezi – 11-34 assessed in 2009), might be as low at 307 – 465 lions in total. A lion population of 500 is widely considered the minimum population size (Packer et al., 2011) to sustain an adequate gene pool, and/or survive other overbearing threats, or stochastic events (as being witnessed in South Africa’s Kruger National Park lion population and Bovine Tuberculosis) (3) having a potentially devastating impact on the population. There is no monitored Zambian subpopulation greater than 500 lions.

 

This is simply not true. The Kafue estimate was for the northern part of Kafue only, the Luangwa estimate only for an area of about ~2,000 sq km around the border of South Luangwa, the estimate for Lower Zambezi is only for the valley floor which is a tiny part of the whole park. To then add these three estimates and present them as the size of the populations of these three parks is wrong. I don't know how many lions there are in the whole Luangwa valley, and you can't extrapolate the estimate from the small area which is studied for several reasons. A: Lion population density is strongly correlated with prey density. Prey density in the study area is very high, likely the highest in the whole of the Luangwa Valley, so likely densities of lions elsewhere in the valley are lower, but unless you know anything about those lions, or the prey populations, you can't say how much lower.

B: In the study area the negative effects of snaring have largely been removed. For example over the past 5 years or so 20 lions have been de-snared, and 101 cubs have subsequently been born to those lions. Elsewhere in Zambia snaring is a big issue too, but there is nobody to remove those snares, thus they likely have a big impact on both lions and prey populations (and other carnivores too obviously).

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Thanks for following along, guys. @@Game Warden - Matt, could I please request you to copy these last few posts (from page 2 - post 39 onwards) over to this other thread please - it is called : Collecting facts, figures and hard data on trophy hunting.

 

I had started this topic in 2015 but never found the time to populate it, so this discussion is as good a place to get that started as any.

 

I have also stumbled upon a number of articles that have been posted right here on ST by our own members that are germane to the discussion, but they are scattered all over the forum. I will try and put links to them into the same thread so we that we have everything under 1 heading - making it easier to discuss and debate.

 

Many thanks - Sangeeta

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The last week only 1 Hollywood male has been seen.

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Any of you who have been recently to SLNP or who know guides, hunters, lodge people - anyone at all - please could you use your contacts to ascertain if the 2 Hollywood Boys have been seen together on any occasion starting Oct 16? It would be one heck of a coincidence if we started to see just one of those 2 from the very day we got reports that a lion had been shot in Upper Lupande.

 

Please, please help us ID the hunted lion. There are reporting requirements laid down by CITES and if these hunters arw doing things by the book, they need to provide tissue samples and photos to ZAWA after the hunt.

 

@@ZaminOz - could you ask your dad to pitch in, if at all possible? This is no longer the same industry you knew all those years ago, and I am sure he will say the sane thing.

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I am starting to become actually physically nauseous following this thread. I know this was not about hunting or not, but.......nauseous :( And so sad, discouraged, ......

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