Weekly magazine & best blog posts  Subscribe
Close Bar
Open Bar
Africa Geographic Blog 
Porini
Africa Geographic Yearbook 2016

One lion’s life – a lesson about hunting

Written by: Bradley Leontsinis

I will never forget the day I first laid eyes on the most impressive animal I have seen in my life. I was guiding a safari on foot in Kafue National Park, Zambia. It was not long before I picked up some unmistakable tracks, which immediately sent a cold shiver down my spine. The people that I was guiding were blissfully unaware that I had just found the largest tracks of any lion I had ever seen! 

The bush was deafeningly quiet… too quiet. Only the shrill alarm call of an irate squirrel was cutting through the silence. I held up my hand signalling everyone to stop and stay still. I made a measured choice of backing slowly away with my guests and going back to camp, returning with the vehicle to find the lion calmly lying a short distance from where we stopped. He looked up at us with steel eyes and everyone on the vehicle gasped in awe of this enormous animal. That was the day I met Big John.

trophy-hunting-lion

Big Johns’ story and subsequent death are very relevant to the hotly debated topic of trophy hunting. While estimates of wild lion populations vary, it is safe to assume the number to be in the region of 20 000. With 7 billion people on the planet and rising, the lion population is in dire straits.

There are several contributing factors to this:

1. Trophy hunting – Targets the best genes in a population. If this superior animal’s genes are not in high enough density in the population, prevented due to its untimely death through hunting, it’s ability to produce offspring with the same impressive traits and necessities to survival is prevented. This paves the way for weaker genes to be more abundant.

2. Gene flow prevention – Limiting the wild animals ability to prevent inbreeding by placing boundary fences around them on small reserves, prevents the natural flow of genes between different populations. In so doing we are severely weakening the gene pool. On a typical, small, managed reserve in Africa, only one, maybe two prides of lions can exist. Preventing inbreeding in this scenario is costly and difficult.

3. Disease – Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (feline version of HIV), and Tuberculosis result in lions which look more like scrawny flee bags rather than proud kings of the savanna. Fortunately these diseases have not spread to all lion populations but by destroying the strongest genes through we are severely weakening other populations ability to fend off these diseases.

4. Habitat destruction – There is simply not enough space left for wildlife to roam in the way it was designed. This results in countries being forced to contain wildlife in small fenced reserves already described. The reserves are often overloaded beyond their carrying capacities and animals are forced to compete intensely for limited resources.

Mjejane

I go back to my story of Big John. For a single male lion to hold territories against other male coalitions is unusual. Male lions usually join forces to create coalitions of 2 or 3 males, which become formidable opposition as a team. Big John was very large and strong enough to fight off these typical coalitions on his own. This should give some level of appreciation as to how powerful this lion was and equally how important his genes were.

Hunting on Kafue National Park is illegal but this particular reserve does not rely on fences as a boundary but rather a large buffer zone between the reserve and any human settlements. Hunting safari lodges are therefore littered on the reserve boundary. Animals do not recognise invisible barriers and freely walk off the reserve directly onto the hunting lands where they are vulnerable. Even to the point where hunting operators would drag a carcass of a dead antelope from the reserve side, along the ground and across the boundary, leaving a blood trail and baiting predators such as lions and leopards onto their properties where they can freely shoot them.

Hunting quotas are given by authorities to each of the operators which limit the number of animals they can shoot per species but due to a lack of policing are almost impossible to enforce. So it is up to the hunters, guided by good morals, to stick to these quotas.

Big John was different, everyone in the area knew about him and it was agreed amongst all parties to leave him be, for the time being at least.

That is unfortunately not how this story played out. One fateful day we tracked Big Johns footprints directly across the invisible boundary and off of the reserve onto a hunting farm in the buffer area.

That was the last sign anyone ever saw of Big John.

The hunting operators staunchly denied our angry accusations, but all signs pointed to Big John’s fate being sealed by a hunter’s bullet.

big-john-lion

Now here is the true tragedy. Following Big John’s death, the two prides which he controlled and protected were without a male and the pride’s were open to infiltration from any male, weak or strong, who did not have to go through the crucial process of natural selection by defeating a pride male or coalition. When new males take over a pride they immediately kill the cubs, which forces the females to come into oestrus again. In this case a pair of young inexperienced males took over the two prides, immediately killing the cubs, which were fathered by Big John. This meant that Big John’s crucially powerful genes were forever eradicated.

This is the reality of trophy hunting. There are many conservation arguments presented, which in principal make sense. The problem is they are null and void if you cannot prevent the type of situation, which occurred with Big John’s death from being a constant reality. Trophy hunters will say that Big John’s life was worth it for the thousands of US dollars pumped into conservation for his death.

Yes, it meant that a single tourist came to the region and spent some money but if Big John was shot with a camera and not a gun, his legacy would be on going, the number of tourists that would spend money in the region, just to come and see him and his subsequent offspring would be exponential compared to that one tourist.


Read more about How the Hunting Conversation Hurts Conservation in our online magazine.

Guest Blogger

In the Guest Blogger profile, you'll see fresh and exciting content from a range of contributors who have submitted their content to us on a once-off or temporary basis, including press releases, campaigns and exciting adventure and travel tales!

  • Sean

    terrible thing. a responsible professional hunter should only allow client to take lion when it has no pride, or its pride has no young cubs.

    • Denise

      Hunting lions cannot ever be “responsible”. A lion without a pride may be part of a coalition, or may be a future alpha male, or maybe have the right to live his life without some coward with a high tech rifle and a telephoto lense pretending that it is sport.

      • Sean

        yes, I dare not say any hunting activity is responsible. At best, it is legal. What we can do is be responsible to ourselves and our clients. To make hunting sustainable, we have to try our hunters’ best to make huntable species sustainable.

        • Guest

          Sean what is it that drives you every day to carry on hunting?

          • Sean

            I feel very sad that some hunter did not behave himself according to the common guideline of lion hunting, but this case is not the common case. Many, if not most, conservancies or hunting blocks actually serve as a buffering area. This situation makes the national parks of southern African countries much immuner to poaching. Poaching which could cause much more damage than trophy hunting to wildlife, as is shown clearly in Kenya. Trophy hunting is a bargaining with evil. Please be tolerant to those hunters including me, who hunt for hunt, meanwhile indirectly and combined with localities to weave a net to curb illegal hunting.

          • Guest

            Okay, just to clarify, so you hunt for food for yourself and family? If so that is completely different and my words are against Trophy Hunters only. Even though words don’t do much it, I like to express my opinion.

          • Sean

            Troye, I am not lucky enough to live in a place where effective eco-tourism can be a solution. So, I have to guide hunting, it is a job to me to support family. I think I am not different with who work in butchery in urban. I have to make a living out of any choice I have in hand.

  • Paleohunter

    If big John genes are that important there are a few things that could have been done.
    1. Capture him and breed him.
    2.after he was shot go and get his cubs so they are not killed by the new males.
    People have are right to hunt. If you don’t like it like I stated capture big John , or go get his cubs, aside from that STFU. It’s just like the poaching problem, you want to end poaching? Give game rangers or guides orders to shoot to kill. Kill the poachers plain and simple.

    • ginger

      Ahh, so simple….. dart all the females, make sure the cubs are not scattered, build enclosures to enable both handrearing of the (wild) cubs and rewilding them (ahh, again so simple), teaching them to hunt, finding suitable release locations etc etc…. oh, and do all this with how much money even if there was a chance of success (and then multiply this by the number of trophy lions shot)???? Perhaps hunters need to gather a better understanding of genetics – rather than sprouting ‘solutions’ like capturing every genetically valuable animal (male and female) and housing them in captivity so that hunters craving a trophy don’t shoot them instead. Maintaining a natural genetically diverse and strong population means it should be natural not taken out of nature. What a backwards way of thinking!

      • https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeGalleryByLaurenHaupt Lauren

        Yes! Thank you

      • Guest

        People have the right to do a lot of things but that does not make it morally right. Slavery was legal at one time as were many other horrible practices which have caused degradation to both animal and man. What always concerns me with people who exclaim that something is their right is are you thinking at all about whether it is right? Essentially, as we become more educated about the world around us, we know better we do better. The people out there that feel “their right” to hunt down and kill animals for sport are selfish and narcissistic. Ultimately, it is not in the best interest of these animals or conservation. It has been shown time and time again that few of those dollars actually reach the grass roots of conservation and there is much more conservation dollars to be made through photograph safaris. The ignorance of people who feel that their rights supersede what “is right” are the dredges of an intelligent society.

    • Cynthia Britt

      OH yes, you have a right to trophy hunt. Seriously? You have a right to assist in extinction so you can have a head on your wall to show all your friends what big balls you have? We aren’t talking about poaching. We are not talking about people feeding their families. We are talking about people getting rich selling tickets to kill at the expense of our natural ecosystem. You are in the wrong place to be telling us to STFU. I’m sure there is a much more appropriate blog/site for you. You obviously have 0 knowledge of how the natural world works.

    • John Weavind

      Utter Rubbsih

      • https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeGalleryByLaurenHaupt Lauren

        What part?

    • Luvinthewild

      People have the right to do a lot of things but that does not make it morally right. Slavery was legal at one time as were many other horrible practices which have caused degradation to both animal and man. What always concerns me with people who exclaim that something is their right is are you thinking at all about whether it is right? Essentially, as we become more educated about the world around us, we know better we do better. The people out there that feel “their right” to hunt down and kill animals for sport are selfish and narcissistic. Ultimately, it is not in the best interest of these animals or conservation. It has been shown time and time again that few of those dollars actually reach the grass roots of conservation and there is much more conservation dollars to be made through photograph safaris. The ignorance of people who feel that their rights supersede what “is right” are the dredges of an intelligent society.

      • Sarel van der Merwe

        All that this discussion teaches us is that people lose sight of decency when they get angry. That is the main reason why we are not successful with conservation – people’s uncontrollable anger, instead of proper reasoning. Lions have decreased in numbers from 200 000 in 1975 to 20 000 in 2013 (last survey results) There is not room for trophy hunting anymore.

    • David Daisy May Boldock

      Are you really as demented as you sound?

  • Elizabethdhfc

    How not hunting them all and letting them live out their lives the way they were meant to? There is no value to trophy hunting except the pleasure of killing a beautiful animal that has it’s own reasons for being put on earth that have NOTHING to do with what use they can be for man.

    • Troye

      The only pleasure for Trophy Hunters is to prove who’s is bigger. Atrocious. They live with one mind set, thus proves them to be repulsive unconventional individuals.

      The pleasure for PH’s with Trophy Hunting clients is the money.

  • Paleohunter

    Your not going to STOP hunting. Or human encroachment unless you want to start a war or something that will thin out the population some. Why not protect the gene pool of specimens Like Big John and take them out of harms way?

    • Cynthia Britt

      You mean like a zoo? You consider that good for the animals? And how is that even good for our ecosystem? Yes, let’s turn Africa into one big freaking display with each animal safely behind an enclosure. There’s the answer.

    • https://www.facebook.com/WildlifeGalleryByLaurenHaupt Lauren

      It would propably be easier to protect them by removing you from the gene pool

      • David Daisy May Boldock

        And more satisfying :-)

  • Cornelia

    Sooo sad, I met Big John too…..he was truly a legend, I didn`t know that he was killed by this tragic way…….

  • Tom Jones

    Here in the US we love our state and national parks. Well we love to talk about them, recount the one time as a child we visited one. Meanwhile the reality is that our parks are literally falling apart. So we love the idea of parks, we just don’t want to pay for them. Sure of our jewel parks are doing well. But that is ten or so out of hundreds. I teach a tropical ecology course and have had the privileged to visit many wonderful places on the earth. Everyone talks about the great birder, fly fishing, ecotourists lodges but there are so few of them and they cater to only to an elite clientele. Without diversifying funds how do you maintain parks? Do you want one or two elite parks and as the only conservation areas? This year my class is going to Kruger and we are staying at South African Wildlife College. A group that does both research and education. Some of the reserves are doing better, or more work than Kruger due to the funds guided hunting allows. As a PhD ecologist I think you have simplified hunting impacts. If take, hunting and fishing always reduces fitness why haven’t our deer, elk, bear, and fishes are producing trophy animals? In the last few decades West Virgina has produced more trophy animals not less. And we have a strong hunting tradition. Yes I am a hunter but for meat not antlers!

    • Luvinthewild

      I agree with you that it is not a national priority in this country to preserve our parks and that is a shame. Just like education, healthcare, infrastructure and many other necessities we pay lip service to but would rather put the money into the military and tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations. Contrary to what has happened in West Virginia, the animals being killed in Africa are depleting at a rate so great, along with encroachment and other issues they face, they will not exist in a decade. I cannot believe that there are people who feel that the right to hunt these animals supersedes this catastrophe. We, as human beings, should no better as we almost hunted the tiger to extinction as well as the buffalo and so many more animals that there would not be enough space on here to name. What people are in an uproar about is that these animals have an ever increasing number of obstacles that befall them without being hunted on top of it. There are some situations they are facing which are unavoidable at this point such as droughts due to climate change. However, hunting is very definitely avoidable. It has not helped to maintain the health or well being of this animals up to this point. It has, in fact, put them in the most precarious of situations both in numbers and genetically. Perhaps the bobcat, coyotes, black bear and so on in West Virginia are more resilient than animals in other parts of the world but considering more than 90% of the African lions have been depleted in the last 50 years or so is a great problem which should not be exacerbated by hunting, if hunting is not contributing to this annihilation. And for those who raise these animals to be killed in canned hunts have no morality or compassion and are obviously driven by greed.

  • DouglasLucchetti

    The loss of this animal is of course sad, but I guess it would be less sad even if he were smaller or a female. I wonder how we’d feel about his dying if we were to watch it as it typically plays out in the natural world with Big John injured by a younger, stronger or luckier male, or maybe some other disability, no longer part of the pride…and so he lies in pain, amid howls, roars, and the seemingly hysterical laughter of hyenas who come in the night to eat you while the former apex predator is dying. I think we would be wise to abandon the sentimentalism, including trophy hunting, and instead become more aware of how life operates in the wild…perhaps a naturalist with the proper instrument could observe the lion’s final hours and maybe help the suffering creature find peace quickly when the end is so inevitable.

  • http://www.mynyloxin.com/painreliever212 Carsten Aretz

    Nothing’s changing because no action has been taken. People are getting emotional and listing names of hunters, who are hated by us activists, yet loved by those who hunt… Shut the social media dow n and figure out how to take action–LAWS, THE DEATH PENALTY, DISMANTLING HUNTING OPERATIONS! Use your heads and think before you post… Now, because of this article, the hunters who study these articles where trophy hunting is most complained about, know that there are invisible boundaries with hunting operations on the outskirts of the game reserve.

    THINK! DON’T GET OVERLY EMOTIONAL AND EXTREME!

  • CC

    Like all bloggers this one is written to project a viewpoint that is in line with his own convictions. He chooses the words to make the point. Take for example :

    Gene flow prevention – Limiting the wild animals ability to prevent inbreeding by placing boundary fences around them on small reserves, prevents the natural flow of genes between different populations. In so doing we are severely weakening the gene pool. On a typical, small, managed reserve in Africa, only one, maybe two prides of lions can exist. Preventing inbreeding in this scenario is costly and difficult.

    This is probably very true in areas of Africa which are becoming enclosed and where the enclosed reserves are not being properly managed. But in countries like South Africa where the the open spaces were enclosed in the early 29th Century, the modern day Wildlife reserve owners do take active steps to control, protect and develop the gene pool.

    The blogger hints disapproval by just commenting that the reserves are “small” but fails to suggest how small is “small”.

    The enclosed South African reserves and many of the larger conservancies are vast, many well in excess of 30,000ha. Research from field studies and observations have established that there is an optimum number and composition of Lion that can exist in a confined territory. Any more than one pride in reserves of such a size and there will be territorial “disturbance”.

    So numbers are managed ~ contraception is employed to limit breeding and prevent where possible overpopulation. But what cannot be controlled is the mix of sexes, and number of cubs in a litter. This can cause a pride to grow larger than that optimum number.

    So again this situation is managed. Reserve owners split the pride and trade or exchange small groups of Lion with other reserve owners and by so doing protect the gene pool. The owners strive to prevent inbreeding between mother and offspring by adopting such reserve management techniques..

    So all is not lost if the open areas become enclosed. Be realistic ~ this is bound to happen as mankind extends their heavy footprint on Africa.

    The reserve owners just need to manage these areas for the good of the wildlife. The knowledge is there and proven. It may need to be adapted to various situations but encosure as such does not mean the end of the species.

    • Luvinthewild

      South Africa has the worst conservation practices and the most poaching in all of Africa, or pretty much. What South Africa manages is canned hunting, which is reprehensible.

  • Hennie Bezuidenhout

    Murdered….just to be displayed on a rich hunter’s kitchen wall …..

  • Brandon

    Hunting has its place. Anyone who isn’t a vegetarian and condemns hunters is nothing but a hypocrite. That being said, I have never had any respect whatsoever for “trophy” hunters. If you hunt for meat to feed your family, as I have. Then fine. But just to have something to hang on your wall? Pathetic.

    • Unik

      Do you live in an underdeveloped country ? Are you a member of a jungle tribe ? I think not, if you have Internet access.
      So how can you say you hunt for meat to feed your family ? Every member of society works in order to feed him and his family, you don’t need to hunt for that. If every human on the planet would hunt for meat, wildlife would be exterminated in a few years. That’s why we invented farming. And you don’t need only meat for food. Do you also grow your own vegetables ?

      The sad truth is that 99.99% of hunters do it for the barbarian pleasure of killing another living being. I leave their analysis to psychologists. Beats me to explain why when we have nowadays so little wildlife, people continue to kill animals for sport. Sick.

      • Brandon

        So little wildlife? Maybe in Africa. Where I live we are drowning in deer. When I was a kid it was rare to see a deer. Now not a day goes by that 5 or 6 don’t walk through the yard. Rarer is a day that one isn’t hit by a car. Hunting a lion in Africa so you can brag to your buddies that you killed a lion is a LONG way from hunting a deer in America to eat. If you can’t see that you’re just blind, or a fool. Again, unless you are a vegetarian you are a hypocrite to condemn hunting. Don’t “need” to hunt for it? True. I could just walk on down to the grocery store and get some steroid laden bit of meat from some poor creature that was raised in a feedlot. An animal that’s ethically harvested in the wild lives a much better life than one that is raised in a s***hole so you can buy it’s carcass at the grocery store, or while wheeling through the drive thru. And yes, I do grow my own vegetables. I have 15 tomato and pepper seedlings growing under a light in my kitchen right now waiting on it to be warm enough to set out. Do you?? I certainly agree that sport hunting just to have something to hang on the wall is disgusting. But so is the way the animals are raised and treated in our commercial meat industry.

        • Joe Biundo

          To be fair, the deer seem to be overpopulated because we’ve eliminated their natural predators.

          • Brandon

            That is true. But the reason we’ve eliminated most of the predators is because they also prey on livestock. Which just can’t be had. That’s too costly….. That’s the same reason the ranchers out west now are fighting the reintroduction of wolves.

          • Mudjie

            there is always a reason to destroy that which you don’t approve or like.. A lot of the ranchers out west graze their cattle on federal lands.. Last time I checked those lands belong to We The People, not them, the ranchers.. if you can’t prove your animal was killed by a wolf you don’t get reimbursed, if you can prove it you can.. We have to make room for all of our critters to live.. We don’t need to eat so many cows.. they use to many resources, it is much more cost effective to eat yard birds like chicken and environmentaly friendly too

          • Brandon

            If you’re grazing your personal property on public land why should you be reimbursed for anything? Even if you can prove it was killed by a wolf? Sounds like they should be reimbursing the people for the grass they’re eating.

          • Brian Prospect

            $200,000 for brandons head!

        • Unik

          I wonder if you’d still hunt deer if you were in some part of Europe where you can barely see a deer before it disappears into the bushes. Yes, they still have wolves and lynxes there. And people don’t go primitivism and neo-luddism to justify killing a wild animal.

          I’m sure the deer is all happy to have her brain blow by you.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EBL0q707fAg

          By the way, using the same logic you should not eat modern fruits and vegetables. They are :domesticated” the same way cattle are – to have a more desirable taste – like too many sugars and are sprayed with pesticides, just the way cattle have more fatty meat than their wild cousins and are fed with hormones and antibiotics. So go into the forest and pick wild apples !

          • Brandon

            You’re nothing but a raving lunatic if you think fruits and vegetables are in any way comparable to domestic livestock. I couldn’t care less about the “domestication”. Do you have any clue how livestock is raised? I’m not taking about antibiotics and hormones. They don’t wander around in big fields you know. They are crammed into commercial feed lots where they can barely turn around. Mother pigs are kept in cages so they can’t even stand up to force them on their sides so they can nurse the next generation, and left there for months. I don’t care that they’re “domesticated” I care how the animals are treated while they are alive. And do you know how commercial livestock is killed? Much, MUCH less humanely than any deer in the woods that doesn’t even know you’re there until it’s dead. You’re pretty good at jumping to conclusions that fit in with your opinion though. I haven’t been hunting in YEARS. More than 10 easily. I said “like I have in the past”. Though I spend the extra money to buy meat that is raised ethically. Unlike the vast majority of the meat in this country that’s eaten by people like you, who then turn around and whine about people hunting. Clueless.

          • Unik

            Well, it’s good though that you buy some meat. Surely that’s the way to go, if you care about ethics.

            But you have a pathetic fallacy in your argument: to impose human point of view to nature. To put into words you can understand : nature doesn’t “care” for your concern about ethics, that instead of buying the industrially raised meat you prefer to shoot wildlife, taking what’s their most precious thing : life itself. There’s so much meat in the supermarkets, yet you hunted wild animals because of ethics. Yeah, I cannot understand your twisted logic. I think that’s making me a lunatic. Sure. Very intelligent.

            You didn’t answer the question : would you hunt in places where wildlife is on the brink of extinction, just because available meat in stores is

            raised “unethically” ?

          • Brandon

            To put it in words you can understand, I don’t give a f*** what “nature’s” concern is, what your concerns are, or what anyone else’s concerns are. I have my own conscience to deal with. I will not support an industry, and put money in the pockets of people who run that industry, who habitually mistreat animals. And do so solely for profit. That is absolutely no better than sport hunting. Killing a single “trophy” animal just to hang it on your wall is sickening, but still better than mistreating thousands of animals a year, and killing them, just to line your pockets with more money. They could keep those animals in better conditions and yeah, cut into their profits some. But still make plenty. Me not buying their tainted meat may be just a drop in the bucket. But you have to start somewhere. One guy surely never accomplishes anything right? Tell that to the guy in Tiananmen Square. And again, even if it doesn’t help I couldn’t care less. I have to answer to myself. I’m not going to bite into a cheeseburger and say oh well, at least nobody hunted this cow. Even though it spent its entire life living in s***, until it was run through a slaughterhouse, terrified, and had a steel rod shoved into its brain to kill it. I wouldn’t hunt anything that was on the brink of extinction. I shouldn’t need to answer that question. That should be blatantly obvious based on my other answers. Buying meat is the way to go if you care about ethics? That’s simply laughable. No one who has any clue whatsoever how the majority of meat gets to market in this country can ever make that claim.

          • Unik

            Yeah, it’s very ethical to kill a deer with a lead bullet through the heart or brain, deriving some pleasure from the thrill of killing. Completely different from shoving a steel rod through the brain. Because lead is more poisoning and the animal dies faster. How humane !

            But tell me, in the times when you hunted, you always got the perfect shot ? The deer died instantly ? If not, how do you think the deer felt those moments agonizing before the finishing shot ? Or maybe the wound was not so bad and s(he) had time to run through the forest and escaping you. Do you think she was terrified ? Or it was happy because you did something “ethical” for her. And her fawns, what did they did after their mother died ? Did you shot those too, to end their suffering ?

            Yeah, I think you can have a clean conscience as a hunter. A very humane one. Like a human 100,000 years ago. I’d like to believe that we evolved a little since then … but It’s obviously not everybody did it. Caveman.

          • Brandon

            Whatever dude. Go back to mommy’s basement. Enjoy your cheeseburgers. You’re clearly morally bankrupt. I have nothing left to say to filth like you.

          • Unik

            Excellent. Now you showed us your real face. Good to know that you are like every other hunter on earth – a scumbag. Go back to the woods, thinking you’re Rambo because you shoot deers for meat.

          • Brandon

            Yeah, I see who the scumbag is. Just have fun eating your cheeseburgers, under your delusion that since someone else is doing the killing for you you’re so morally superior. Hitler was a swell guy too. He never actually marched anyone into a gas chamber himself, he let others do that for him. Clueless idiots like you truly make me worry for the future of this planet.

          • Williamhuard

            There is always a trophy hunter shill, a fake conservationist, ready, willing, and able to defend the actions of these morons who kill the rarest and strongest animals on the planet for a grand slam hunting contest and a black tie event every year where the serial wildlife killers get their award.

          • Toto

            Can the same be said about you Brandon,how proud your family must be to see you come home with a gazelle round your shoulders dripping blood,yes your children must be extremely proud that daddy knows how to shoot straight,he kills one every week,so that we can braai when friends pop in they love fresh game too.Huh you are as thick as two planks.

          • Toto

            I do know Brandon,humans are the cruellest animals on Gods green earth and you are one of them.Next time you kill a DEER try doing it without your rifle.

          • Brandon

            Next time? I’ve never killed a deer in my life. It’s amazing how you f***ing idiots love jumping to conclusions. I never said I’ve ever brought home deer meat. All the meat I’ve ever brought home has been from squirrels. The fact remains that unless you are a vegetarian you are nothing more than a filthy hypocrite if you condemn meat hunters. Just because you decide to let someone else do the killing for you so that you can remain under the delusion that you’re a swell guy doesn’t change anything. I would say it’s worse. Who is worse, the hit man or the guy who hires him? Especially given the horrific treatment, and inhumane dispatching, that takes place in most of our commercial meat operations.

          • Toto

            Brandon I did mention elsewhere on this post I do not eat any animal or fish flesh. The f***cking idiot is you,as you never mentioned to my knowledge what it is you kill, how are the readers supposed to smell that you love squirrals.But then again whichever way you look at it you are still killing innocent animals as you don’t need meat to get your daily ration of protein.So go back to whichever bush you came from and justify yourself that you are not a cruel hunter.Killing of any animal is wrong so please go preach to the natives.

          • Unik

            The article was about trophy hunting, not meat. But being a trolling motherf*cking idiot, you diverted the discussion to hunting in general, with the same tired hunter’s argument that anti-hunting people must be hypocrites, because they eat meat. We are not condemning bush-men in Africa or abo’s in Australia for bringing home meat from a hunt. We are condemning hunting in a developed society, where just anyone with a little effort can obtain his food for good health and well being, either meat or somewhat else like beans. You are even more idiot than I originally thought, because you shot those little squirrels with so little meat in them. I bet you did it for sport and pleasure, not because of economical reasons. Go f*ck yourself !

        • S.w. Tsang

          Wolves can be a big problem or even coyotes for livestock . Reason is they hunt in packs unlike a single leopard or a cougar or even a lion . Any way from what I have read & learned , these big cats learn to stay away from lIvestock by watching their mothers & aunts (lions ) . If the one wise mothers or aunts are killed or taken out , the good role models will also be removed to teach the young ones what to hunt & what to stay away from

          • Brandon

            Are you referring to my earlier comment about why predators are so few? That was sarcasm…. Though it is true that is why we have eliminated so many of the top predators. Whether the reasoning is valid or not is irrelevant. That’s still why it has been done.

      • S.w. Tsang

        I wish those deer could migrate to the west like calif , Nevada or New Mexico . Reason is they r short of deer. So when Cougars r going for deer as well as humans , big cats loose out .

      • Trisha Idleno Morey

        Are you stupid? Do you know how many families live in the USA who still have to hunt to keep from starving to death? Must be nice to be so sheltered and ignorant. My family hunts, or they starve and we have internet every time we walk to a library. Dumbass.

    • Toto

      Hunting of any kind by these freeking big game hunters appals me.Just so you know I am a vegetarian,no chicken or fish& meat, even the killing you are doing is not right.You must like wild game for your meat.You don’t need meat to have a balanced diet.Or you live amongst African tribes that thrive on killing anything that moves.Or etc,etc,etc.

  • Mike

    hunters who hunt for trophies suffer from little d!ck and no b@lls syndrome, if you have a weapon and what you are hunting does not, how is that any kind of test, just shows how pathetic you are, take on a lion without a weapon and see how you come off

  • Meryl Brown

    Excellent well thought out article supporting the reasons why trophy hunting should be banned !

  • John

    All that you say about Big John is absolutely true. However, the world also contains morons who feel that their lives will incomplete until they have shot a lion. Sadly, these people exist, so there needs to be a plan for them, because they will otherwise simply continue killing the Big Johns.
    Now, I know that I’m going to raise the ire of many, but, realistically, the only solution is to ban wild lion hunting, and let the culprit shoot captive bred lions, many of which have the same sort of proportions as Big John, as they haven’t faced the trials and tribulations of the wild. I fully understand that canned hunting is NOT ethical hunting, but it’s a LOT better than shooting wild lions! Don’t think of it as hunting, but rather as shooting at a purpose-bred targeti! If one thinks about it, what is the difference between breeding cattle, sheep, pigs, buck or lions -they’re all ultimately being bred for the bullet!!
    I will now duck as the abuse gets hurled at me!

  • Linda Horsfield

    Anybody who takes pleasure out of killing another being – human or otherwise – is a sick psychopath.

  • esme blair

    The argument that money goes to conservation is now a tired and pathetic excuse. As the article says, interfering with the gene pool. However African govt.and National Parks love the money, nothing goes back lines pockets and fuels corruption. Mostly hunters from the USA….time to tell them Africa prefers their animals alive.

  • Unafrican

    The MURDERER sure does not have the magnificent male parts that King Big John had !!! No killer that MURDERS LIONS with his “gun” has any balls. It would be perfect if the LIONS were allowed to defend themselves against their murderers, in combat instead of standing or lying there and being shot by the human with the gun. EVIL human practice !!! For God’s sake … EXTINCTION IS FOREVER !!! Why do the dickless twats not get their rocks off in other ways and LEAVE LIONS IN PEACE ??? !!!

  • David Daisy May Boldock

    Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.

  • David Daisy May Boldock

    Hi! handsome hunting man

    Fire your little gun.

    Bang! Now the animal

    is dead and dumb and done.

    Nevermore to peep again, creep again, leap again,

    Eat or sleep or drink again. Oh, what fun!

  • David Daisy May Boldock

    Lion, rifles — and stupidity.

  • David Daisy May Boldock

    The world may be divided into people that read, people that write, people that think, and lion-hunters.

  • Gail Mckay

    My great concern is that “trophy” hunting will continue to be a factor in the extinction of this animal and many others. The money offered by elitists to fulfill their own self-serving, selfish needs will continue this practise – no different than the ivory trade. I cannot fathom what satisfaction comes from killing an animal for the sake of killing and being able to ignore the consequences of the killing – how self-absorbed one must be !

  • Jayefe

    Good article in my opinion ; I am a meat hunter for venison ; most of my initial hunting learning was as a school kid in gaza mozambique watching the shangaan hunting with zagaias for rabbits and small buck ;however I do not approve the hunting of apex predators more so if one is well aware of the fact that the wild african lion is endangered; why does CITES still issue licenses on a animal that is endangered ? I believe that habitat loss , human encroachment and /or conflict and loss of natural prey are the principal factors contributing to the demise of the african lion and not just “trophy hunting” although this practice as explained is a contributing factor.

  • Neil

    If Big John’s powerful genes were eradicated, does that mean he NEVER sired any cubs in his lifetime?? Foolish notion from this writer !!

  • Mike D

    This is incredibly sad. These majestic male lions fight through enormous hardship their entire lives to grow to be a dominant male to control a pride and pass on their genes only for it to end in a split second at the trigger finger of a wealthy hunter. There is absolutely no need for the hunting of adult male lions when there are less than 10,000 left in the wild. Their killing disrupts the entire pride structure as we saw here. It is senseless and incredibly sad. The hunting of lions must be banned altogether with stiff penalties for those that do. I don’t buy the BS that such hunting helps conservation. That’s a load of dung. I hunt myself but would never think of hunting the most iconic animal on the planet when they are on the brink of extinction.

Newsletter

Subscribe to receive our online magazine and most popular blog posts via email

Follow us on Social Media

AG Yearbook Pre-order
Africa Geographic