I shot a lion the other day

We saw a small pride just over a ridge on the receding bank of the Luangwa river. There were 3-4 adolescent males about 2 years old hanging about. Apparently they had just killed a hippo the day before, so they were pretty sluggish, playful, and enjoying the dying evening. It made the hunt even easier. Our chase vehicle pulled up just far enough for us to get a good look, but not so close as to alert the lions of our presence. I readied myself, looked down into the sight, took a deep breath, and pulled the trigger.

Snap.

I got one of the coolest photos I’ve ever taken.

LionNight

A couple weekends ago I went on safari down in South Luangwa Park in the Eastern Province of Zambia. Seeing wild game up close and personal was one of two items on my Zambia bucket list (the other was checking out Vic Falls— nailed that one). Unfortunately, it took almost 9 weeks for me to sort out this trip.

It was worth the wait.

In the last month, lion hunting in Africa has taken center stage. A certain Zimbabwean lion whose life was cut short by a few idiots has made international headlines and brought to light an issue that I don’t think was as widely publicized back in the States.

CNN put together a ‘Hunter’s Shopping List’ outlining the rough costs of taking down big game in Africa. Take for example a Leopard. CNN estimates that you could pay upwards of $35,000 for a guaranteed kill. 35 grand. You could buy a brand new souped up Ford Mustang. Use it as a down payment for your seat on the first Virgin Galactic flight. You could pay for over 23 Lion Guardians’ annual salaries and tag 30 additional lions with tracking collars.

Orrr, you could kill a beautiful creature and throw it up on a wall.

Hmmm.

Yes, I’m well aware of the many, many, many  arguments suggesting that hunting wildlife (in past prime age groups) can help conservations efforts. Monies raised from legal hunts contributes a significant portion of funding for rehabilitation and conservation programs. 

But here’s the rub. Arguably, humans are the prime reason why we need conservation efforts in the first place. Whether it’s due to our incessant sprawl into fragile ecosystems, full bore resource harvesting, or straight-up killing animals just cuz we can. If you remove us from the equation, I have a sneaking suspicion that life will, uh, find a way.

So bear with me:

Humans are killing animals.

Conservation efforts are needed to save them…

So we should kill more of them?

Doesn’t quite add up for me.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

While you ponder, check out some photos of animals who are alive and well, being awesome in the wild. 

This looks about right...

This looks about right…

PridePlay3

Two Tawny Eagles

Two Tawny Eagles

Why, hello there.

Why, hello there.

Struttin'.

Struttin’.

Can you tell giraffes are my favorite?

Can you tell giraffes are my favorite?

Hip. Hip-hop. Hip-hop-anonymous?

Hip. Hip-hop. Hip-hop-anonymous?

A buncha hippos (I guess 'pod' is technically correct).

A buncha hippos (I guess ‘pod’ is technically correct).

Elephant

Elephants2

Zebra

The Zebra in South Luangwa aren't as big as I expected.

The Zebra in South Luangwa aren’t as big as I expected.

LeopardClimbing

She sees something she likes.

 

LeopardStalking2

And she’s gonna get it!

My favorite time of day.

My favorite time of day.

Anddd that's a wrap.

Anddd that’s a wrap.

nile.jpg

Nile Nahar-Brown is working out of Lusaka, Zambia, with fintech entrepreneur Zoona on product development and marketing strategy.

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3 Responses to “I shot a lion the other day

  • Population control is an essential part of conservation. Species populations are not consistent meaning you get pockets of overpopulated regions. This is detrimental to the ecosystem as a whole as it can upset ecological equilibria. This is particularly detrimental to predators. Imagine having a teenage son who invites his friends round for an afternoon, the inundation causes the fridge to be emptied in a few hours and they eventually have to go hungry or move on. The same applies in nature. If you allow populations to exceed the habitats carrying capacity the animals will be driven to find new sources of food dispersing into farm land and shot, or they remain and starve where they are. Either scenario results in the death many animals. Culling it many closed park systems is a necessity to stop these effects. Kill one to save many. The morality of this is a harsh one. Yes relocations can be carried out to overcome this but it is extremely expensive and dangerous as the use of the drugs involved can harm the animals in question. the Southern African trend of bank rolling these cullings through paid hunts generates greater funds that can be used for more human conservation plans. In these cases where they populations are strictly monitored and the hunts cull ‘problem’ animals the system may be justified. However the policy of breeding and releasing animals that are released for trophy hunting is morally unjustified. It is the generalisation that the two process are the same that causes confusion over South Africas hunting laws. Strictly controlled culls that have the potential to bankroll conservation efforts I am afraid may be a necessity for conservation despite the brutality of it which makes it hard to accept.

  • Yup..let the wild died by the wild, and not for humans plate nor souvenirs..

  • Jordan Coriza
    3 years ago

    I couldn’t agree more. Killing animals is BS. Period.

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