Hunters are the true conservationists.
That point was brought home recently hen an international assembly of conservationists representing 84 countries adopted an African lion-hunting policy modeled after one advanced earlier this year by the Dallas Safari Club.
At a conference concluding April 30 in Budapest, Hungary, the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation credited DSC for early and ongoing leadership in urging lion hunters to self-impose harvest restrictions.
In January, DSC announced its new definition of the ideal huntable male lion. More than 70 major safari operators, hunting industry leaders and top conservationists pledged support. The definition reads: “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.”
Overharvest of young male lions could reduce lion populations overall, posing a concern to conservation and scientific management of this iconic species. Furthermore, such reductions in numbers would lead wildlife authorities to reduce quotas.
However, research shows that hunting older male lions has no negative effect on populations.
“The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation is joining us in encouraging lion hunters from around the world to be more selective. We’re gratified that the concepts within our policy have become a standard for conservationists worldwide,” said DSC Executive Director Ben Carter. “Hunting only non-pride and non-adolescent male lions should be the goal of every hunter and every organization with a vested interest in conserving lion populations.”
Along with the lion-hunting policy, DSC also adopted a new club rule: “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.”
Carter said, “Responsible lion hunting, based on the latest science and wildlife management principles, is an essential component of policies designed to conserve African lions and their habitat for future generations.”
DSC has long funded 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.
The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation is a politically independent advisory body internationally active on a nonprofit basis. With its renowned scientific capacity, the council assists governments and environmental organizations in maintaining natural resources by sustainable use.
The Jubilee 60th General Assembly of the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation took place in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, April 26-30. Experts gathered to discuss the topic of wildlife management under the motto “Hunting: Conserving Wildlife–Key to Global Cultural Heritage.”