Get your facts straight, say hunting associations

A photograph posted on Facebook showing a smiling Mellissa Bachman with her trophy lion has elicited severe criticism, “as if this lion is the last nail in the coffin” of the species, said the SA Predator Association in a recent media statement. The outcry, it added, is “utter nonsense”.

- Advertisement -

Elephant, lion and buffalo and all other game species are hunted in South Africa in a “responsible and sustainable manner,” said the association, and the hunting industry is a very important sector of the SA economy.

It earns revenue for the country, it creates employment, it provides food and it contributes to conservation, aiding the survival of several game species that were on the brink of extinction.

“South Africa has several healthy and thriving free-roaming lion populations, mainly in national, provincial and private game reserves,” said the association. They are well cared for and under no threat, except from diseases such as bovine TB. Their numbers are estimated at around 3 000 and they may not to be hunted.

- Advertisement -

In addition, SA has between 4 000 and 5 000 captive-bred ‘ranch lions’. “The keeping and hunting of ranch lions is strictly regulated by national and provincial legislation,” said the association, adding that ‘canned hunting’ is illegal and “totally rejected by the industry”.

Bachman’s lion hunt was conducted on the Maroi private game ranch in Limpopo under that province’s legal requirements, and was a classic walk-and-stalk hunt, “which is the basis of the fair chase mode of hunting,” said the association.

In a separate media release, Fred Camphor, president of the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association, said it was tragic that activists should use their ‘love of animals’ to insult and threaten “a fellow human being”, and inflame the emotions of people unaware of the role that hunting plays in conservation.

Camphor explained that hunting increases the value attached to game and ensures the survival of all species in Africa. "There is growing pressure on all species, which escalates as human populations increase. Game numbers must be managed with extreme care. Wildlife in Africa must have a value to the people of Africa if the wildlife is to survive in sustainable numbers into the next century.”

Some ‘animal lovers’ just do not understand the “delicate balance and responsibilities of conservation, or the reality of’ what pays, stays. Without hunters, South Africa would not be the world leader in conservation that it is today," said Camphor.

We asked on Facebook what are your thoughts on the topic? If a male shot the lion would it would be an issue? Lions should not be hunted? These are some of the comments:

Robyn Nicolay: Hunting generates a great deal of money for our economy. If done professionally and within culling and stipulated population control parameters, I believe it is not an issue. I think one should ask the question as to why she is singled out as a barbaric hunter whereas there are numerous, if not more, men that do the exact same thing.

Ruan Pretorius: my view on the matter is that hunting in general is for the greater good of our countrys economics and conservation by not putting a price on a game animal it’s worthless and could far rather be replaced with industries such as beef /sheep etc so if it wasn’t for hunting why would the farmer want 2 conserve his game and as far as lion hunting goes yes I’m all for it as long as its not from a wild pride where other males will move in and kill off all the offspring from the "hunted "male thus creating a generation gap of note at least 2 generations well that’s my opinion in a nutshell I’m pro hunting in a legal sustainable manner

Daffodil Smith: I don’t see what’s the big fuss about?! When a guy kills an animal, no one cares but as soon as a woman does it, she is labelled and shunned. Get over it. We have bigger issues to worry about! Elections are coming up.