Is it true that the ban to hunt lions has been lifted by Bush Sr., et all??

I recieved this as part of my News of the Weird for 7/8/01:

“A Tucson, Ariz., international big-game-hunting organization recently pressured the government of Botswana to lift its ban on shooting at the rapidly dwindling lion population, with help from three of the group’s highest-profile members, former President George Bush, Gen. Norman
Schwarzkopf and former Vice President Dan Quayle. According to a leading Botswana conservationist, rich hunters (safaris cost $20,000 to $35,000) create even further attrition by demanding to kill only mature males, because of their bushy manes, leaving lairs unprotected from other
lions. Said the conservationist (to London’s The Guardian): “There’s no reason to shoot a lion other than ego. As a hunter you want to feel great so you can hang it on the wall and your mates say, ‘Wow, what a man!’” [The Guardian, 4-27-01; Chicago Tribune, 5-13-01]”

Say it isn’t so!

I haven’t read about this in the newspapers yet, but even so I wouldn’t think its true. Between repealing the lower arsenic concentration in drinking water mandate that Bill Clinton left behind, pushing very hard to drill for oil in the Alaska Wildlife Refuge and backing the U.S.A. out of the Kyoto Treaty, I’d say W. Bush would be pushing his political luck it he backed the idea of letting the rich blow away an endangered species for a couple grand.

Also, I think back in 1993 or 1994, Alaska passed a bill allowing the state’s wolf packs to be “culled” in order to increase the size of the Carabo (I know I spelled this wrong) herds. There was quite a public out cry and a large Alaska-boycot campain by PETA. I would think there would be a similar reaction to this situation.

George Bush, Sr., Former Vice President Dan Quayle, and General Norman Schwartzkopf have REQUESTED the government of Botswana to lift the ban, so far it hasn’t yet happened.

here are some links:

So a bunch of rich white guys want to be able to go out and blow away the last few remaining African big cats. What in Hades is the big surprise here?

None of the above people are famous for their compassion or desire to preserve the world’s remaining animal heritage. Try to remember this as you pace the carpet in outrage. These are rich white men trying to get accomodations for other rich white men to do what they have done so often in the past, namely, treat the world like it’s their oyster.

Is anyone really all that surprised about this?

      • Animals that are declared illegal to hunt at all are often poached more than if legitimate hunting was allowed. This has happened on more than one occasion, in more than one location. The rare exceptions have been for animals that live in very inhospitable or remote places, such as polar regions.
  • Um, as I heard it, the female lions tied the social structure together.
  • Yea, go tell that to the poor African guy who has to look out the doorway of his hovel, and see wild 500-pound predators searching for their next meal. Why can’t those silly colored people just learn to appreciate nature? - MC


Do you have a cite for this? I’ve never heard of this being the case. Generally poaching occurs when there is a market for the product (ivory, tiger penis, rhino horn, etc.) However, as far as I’m aware, there is very little market for lions or their by-products, except, of course by folks who like to claim that they’ve killed them. Which therefore makes poaching somewhat fruitless.

While it is true that females tie the social strusture together, males are indeed in the pride and offer protection, as well as serve a breeding purpose. Without males it’s awfully to make more lions. In fact according to the cite listed above “Because trophy hunters target male lions–their manes make them much more impressive trophies–it is thought that only 5,000 male lions remain on the African continent. Some studies of lion populations have shown that the vacuum caused by eliminating just one prime male member of a pride can result in the effective loss of as many as 10 lions”.

Since there have only been a few recorded cases of “man-eating” lions, this is highly improbable. However, assuming that you aren’t being racist…It’s THEIR country! They’ve place the ban, I think it’s preposterous to think that it is in someway helping them to preserve themselves or their “hovel” by having some wealthy Americans cull a herd that is not, to this point, in danger of overpopulation, and has little history of being dangerous.

but those lions do hunt the same food that those people would love to have.
Most cats generally have a social structure where the female raises the cubs. A female’s territory is typically smaller then a males and never overlaps another females territory. A male’s territory usually encompases several females teritories and there will be overlaps with other males - but that overlap is basically a territorial dispute. Female teritories usally are contained in a single male territory but sometimes they overlap into another male’s terrotory (lucky girl ;)).

if males are removed, the remaining male teritories will grow to a point as a male can only patrol so much land and will eventually be content w/ the size of his territory.

At one time I went throught a cat phase and learned a lot 'bout them.

I havn’t heard that either but I can see how it could make sense. Another factor is that if you can go after big game legally you can charge for it and that money can go to wildlife management (and to police the wilderness).

As for the OP - I havn’t heard one way or another


Your information on “most cats” is pretty much correct :slight_smile: , but lions are a bit different. Once male lions ( generally sibling pairs, trios, or even quartets ) establish themselves in a pride, they remain pretty much exclusive to it. Eliminating the males of a neighboring pride will generally not result in amalgamated prides ( though there are probably occasional individual exceptions ). For one thing the females ( who are the social glue in prides ) won’t tolerate it. Females in any given pride belong to a single interrelated bloodline ( spearate from the males ) and are intolerant of unrelated interlopers. What actually tends to happen, is that prides that are undefended by males tend to suffer rapid attrition to conflict and starvation ( because they are shunted onto unsuitable hunting ground by other prides which take avantage of their sudden weakness ). Female lions are big and tough, but males are MUCH larger and stronger, which is why the dominate lion society, muscle-wise.

About the only time shooting a male would not cause this sort of disruption, is if you kill a bachelor. But the young ones make less impressive trophies ( less mane ). And the old ones are almost as bad, as the tend to be pretty beaten up ( and usually don’t have a tremendous lifespan oince ousted from a pride, anyway ).

Now MC does have a point that under some circumstances controlled hunting can be better than the alternative. For example in the past rural farmers sometimes spared game animals that intrude on their property because the occasional one taken by Big-game hunters will offset any perceived economic damage ( or in the case of large predators, nuisance-causing - which I might add is generally way overblown ).

But lions, which are generally, in this day and age, well-removed fropm areas of dense human habitation, are not going to benefit from this proposed change in policy. Quite the contrary. And in this case ( and in the case of any game animal in little-accessed parks ), it won’t reduce poaching hardly at all. IMO, it will be just quick cash for the government/locals and is unlikely to create tremendous pressure for conservation ( the society is already under tremendous pressure and the money from poaching is there for the taking - The example of rich white men hunting trophies, while they are forbidden, is not a good one ).

  • Tamerlane

I am quite skeptical about this, especially given the sources. Every story has two sides (at least) and I’d like to hear what those alluded have to say. It just seems an unlikely story to me and can be, if not totally false, at least a distortion, tergiversation or exageration.

This isn’t always true. "A single male or coalition of males (up to seven) holds tenure over one or more prides, and effectively excludes strange males from siring cubs with pride females. Competition among males for pride tenure is intense, and average tenure is only two to three years…Males are also highly social: coalitions in the pre- and post-tenure periods hunt and scavenge cooperatively, and larger coalitions of 4-6 males can maintain tenure more than twice as long as 1-2 males (> 47 months) (from this site: )

Also, it is a well known phenomenon that when a new male coalition takes over a pride they perform infanticide to force the females into estrus. Thus, killing a male (if in your example), who is a single entity over the pride, all of his young (up to as late a one year old) will be killed by the new coalition. Or conversly killing a male who is a member of a strong coalition of males (let’s say four) could weaken the coalition thus allowing a new group of males to take that pride, once again resulting in infanticide. This would result in lowering the population.

Theoretically it could, but generally it doesn’t. " But hunting operators, who run their hunts on state-owned land, have always pocketed a vast majority of the fees (about $30,000 each) paid by trophy hunters" (once again this is from the first cite in my original post)

All of this said, Bush Sr. and cronies are almost certainly not trying to improve the economy of Botswana, or make themselves into some kind of conservationists by killing adult male lions. Don’t kid yourselves, they want a big-ass trophy.

Less I look like an idiot on the basis of bio-brat’s comments :smiley: , I should hasten to add that a) My comment on amalgamation stands - Prides rarely, if ever, actually combine, and b) Mea Culpa :slight_smile: - I had forgotten the instances when males ran multiple prides. This however can lead to some of the same results. As I recall, it may have been in the Nogorongoro Crater that their was a population bottleneck and a single large group of males succeeeded in eliminating all their rivals and establishing dominance over something like seven extant prides. This, again to my memory, did not result in lessening of territorial rivalry. I believe at least one or more of the smaller groups of females were shunted onto less desirable hunting grounds and rarely visited by the males ( which were centered on a couple of the larger groups ), resulting in a concomittant drop in population at the fringes. All in all it was an unhealthy population situation. Especially
in terms of population genetics.

  • Tamerlane

Thanks for the clarification on lions. When you mentioned about prides it all came back.

This is not uncommon practice, and in the long run it can be beneficial to the preservation of the species in question. Licenses to shoot rare or endangered animals are auctioned off for truly astounding sums of money, like $1 million or more, and the money can then be put towards the preservation of the animal. A few millions bucks might save 20 lions, so losing one could result in a net gain.

That isn’t to say that Bush, Quayle or Shwartzkopf decided to shoot a lion to save others, but asking permission is hardly a big deal unless you think all hunters are evil.

      • First off, I don’t really know much about the situation in particular; I dare say I haven’t investigated it myself. That said, I can say a few things I do know:
  1. Insisting on never hunting a certain species of animal is a not-logical reaction, as silly as insisting on eradicating any species.
  2. If some endangered species is protected, it will likely multiply, outgrowing its original location. That much is good, but at some point members of it will come into close contact with humans, causing problems, particularly if the species is a large predator. California USA had a problem of not-many mountain lions in 1986, so they banned hunting. Since then, many people have lost pets (large dogs) and a few people have lost people. If it wasn’t your pet or your person, you probably think that’s no big deal.
  3. Completely banning hunting a species reduces its value to only what poachers will pay for it, and has no practical limits on how many animals get taken illegally. If a legal hunting license is more expensive than what the poachers are willing to pay, then it only makes sense for the locals to help protect the lions from illegal poachers, and sacrafice a few lions to legal hunters. And you’d better believe those local people know where to find lions best; lions would all be gone in a month if the locals decided they didn’t want them around anymore. And the clincher: when poaching occurs, it’s usually local people doing it.
  4. We do not know, from the material provided, who placed that ban, or why, or to whom it applies. We do know that African countries as a whole are not exactly paragons of democracy or equality. I’m not surprised a leading conservationist opposes hunting, I’d be amazed if one didn’t. And I’d ask if you could imagine for a moment a country’s president declaring lion hunting illegal only in order to make lion hunting easier for himself and his chosen guests, but that’s just silly, it would never happen–it’d be like blacks keeping other blacks as slaves. - MC