suspicious trophy hunting advertisement has been placed online for a
threatened Namibian desert lion. And it would appear that the target
is the only known adult male lion in the Sesfontein Conservancy.
advert has since been removed, but we secured screengrabs of the
advert – featured below.
have been informed that a large male lion in the Sesfontein
Conservancy has been declared a ‘problem animal’, and a permit
has been issued to a trophy hunter to kill him. Our sources advise us
that there is only one known remaining adult male lion in the
conservancy – XPL 81, or Kebbel (photo above).
former coalition partner (XPL 87, photo below)) disappeared a few
years ago and has not been seen since (thought to have been hunted),
and it is therefore unlikely (although not impossible) that XPL 87 is
the subject of this problem animal permit.
approached Izak Smit, co-founder of conservation association DeLHRA,
and he had this feedback:
by the advertisement and based on feedback from our networks, this
lion will be hunted in the Sesfontein Conservancy by Leopard Legend
Hunting Safaris on a ‘problem animal permit’.
advertisement wording – ‘an extremely rare lion trophy
opportunity…’ and, ‘this lion population has adapted to the
arid region of the North-west of Kaokoland and is very unique’, is
of concern as it places value on the rarity and uniqueness of this
Facebook advert, since removed
attended a meeting with the Namibian Ministry of the Environment and
Tourism (MET) during the past week, and took the opportunity to
question a senior MET official about this hunt – specifically
whether a specific lion had been earmarked and identified for this
hunt. I also enquired as to whether ‘problem animal’ protocol (in
terms of the National Policy on Human-Wildlife-Conflict Management
plan) had been followed, specifically with regard to establishing of
the identity of the specific lion responsible for livestock killings,
as MET is required to do.
MET official in question expressed his dismay with the terminology
used in the advertisement pertaining to how rare the lion is as he
felt that this was inviting an outcry from animal rights activists.
The use of this terminology, of course, is clearly aimed at whetting
the appetite of the hunter and justifying the price tag of USD65 000,
much higher than ‘ordinary lion’ price tags.
Facebook advert, since removed
the subsequent meeting with MET, the sharing of the spoils and the
benefits for the communities were discussed. Typically the community
would get paid about USD2 500 for a lion trophy. A very senior
community representative and conservationist also present at the
meeting was shocked to learn this and the general feeling was that of
disgust. Translated into Namibian dollars the community would get
N$32 500 and the hunting outfit N$812 500 – a mere 3,8%
of the trophy revenue generated.
question now arose in the discussion following this, that the target
lion appears to be only adult
male lion left in the conservancy – XPL 81, also known as
Kebbel – a research subject, collared and monitored by the
Desert Lion Project. Surely he is worth a whole lot more to the
community alive than dead? This lion is a huge tourist attraction
that contributes to filling lodge beds.
since he is the last productive adult male in the Hoanib, Okongue and
Orowau areas, surely killing him would be detrimental to the
surviving prides, given the already drastically skewed gender ratios
note: see Simon Espley’s thoughts on gender bias in the
desert-adapted lion populations in
The Ganamub and Tomakas areas lost eight lions to human-wildlife
conflict in June alone.
would question whether the identification of which lion is the
‘problem animal’ has been sufficiently proven – it seems
convenient that the animal declared a ‘problem animal’ happens to
be the only remaining potential trophy lion left in the area.
would offer to collect funding and pay the N$32 500 to the
community to prevent the killing of this iconic male and support the
vital tourism lodges in the area. We have no problem in principle
with sustainable utilisation of any species, but this case seems
totally unproductive and not in the community’s interest.”
photographed at a hunting baiting site. The photograph would suggest
that this lion has already been hunted