As lions become more and more scarce across Africa, one Texas group is taking the lead on what they define as a shootable lion.
The Dallas Safari Club this week announced a formal position statement defining the ideal, huntable male lion.
“The ideal huntable male lion is at least six years of age and is not known to head a pride or be part of a coalition heading a pride with dependent cubs.”
DSC is encouraging safari operators and hunters across Africa to use this definition within their own conservation ethos.
For its part, DSC adopted a new club policy: “No DSC member will be eligible for any DSC recognition or trophy award unless the member’s lion trophy submission is a fully mature lion as determined in the sole discretion of the DSC awards committee.”
“Research shows that hunting male lions at least five years of age has no negative effect on populations,” said Ben Carter, DSC executive director. “We adopted a six-year rule because we recognize the difficulties in judging age, especially in field conditions, and we chose to air on the side of caution. Hunters have always led the charge for conservation. This is one more example.”
DSC President Allen Moore also weighed in.
“DSC and conservation authorities across Africa are concerned about the developing possibility of reduced harvest quotas on lions,” Moore said. “If that happens, the resulting loss of revenue from lion hunters would be a significant setback for conservation, not only for lion populations, but also for other species such as buffalo and plains game.”
Urging hunters to self-impose harvest restrictions is seen as a better alternative.
The DSC six-year rule is endorsed by leading authorities on lion conservation, outfitters and DSC leaders, listed below:
• Dr. Colleen Begg, project leader, Niassa Carnivore Project, Mozambique
• Greg Bond, DSC past president, OHAA recipient
• Ben Carter, DSC executive director
• Richard Cheatham, DSC past president and board member
• Dale Desfountain, Desfountain & Jones, Ltd., Zimbabwe
• J. Lane Easter, DVM, Diplomate American College of Veterinary Surgeons, co-founding member Lion Conservation Task Force
• Dave Fulson, Safari Classics and Chifuti Safaris, Zimbabwe
• George Hartley, Tanzania Game Trackers (Friedken Fund), Tanzania
• Chris Hudson, DSC board member
• Dr. Luke Hunter, president, Panthera
• K. H. Leatham, Mazunga Safaris, Bubye Valley Conservancy, Zimbabwe
• Shane Mahoney, Conservation Visions, executive director at Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, director Conservation Force
• Michel Mantheakis, Michel Mantheakis Safaris, Tanzania
• Allen Moore, DSC president
• Aaron Nielson, Global Hunting Resources, co-founding member Lion Conservation Task Force
• Greg Oliver, DSC past president and board member, OHAA Recipient
• Dr. Craig Packer, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, University of Minnesota; principal investigator, Serengeti Lion Project
• Wilson Stout, DSC member, OHAA recipient
• Paul Trethowan, WildCRU, Oxford University
• Dr. Paula A. White, director, Zambia Lion Project, Center For Tropical Research, University of California, Los Angeles
• Dr. Karyl L. Whitman, wildlife biologist, co-author, “A Hunter’s Guide to Aging Lions in Eastern and Southern Africa”
For several years, DSC has been funding scientific research on African lions. Understanding lion population dynamics is one of many projects supported by DSC grants to advance conservation, education and hunter advocacy worldwide.