Saturday, August 05, 2006

Following the western liberal tradition...

The main concern about the lion is not so much the canned lion hunting but the genetic implications of releasing lion into wild populations, and the impacts of semi-tame lion on villagers.

We don't need canned lion hunting to take pressure off wild populations: what we require is for a competent authority to manage hunting offtakes and to ensure that breeding animals are not shot. Research on lion clearly shows that shooting non-breeding males - as with any species, maintains the necessary genetic vigour. It is the killing of young pride lion which is the problem, as is the shooting of breeding bulls from buffalo herds. A trophy monitoring system needs to be implemented given the farcical and larcenous 'quota' system currently in place. The failure to introduce a monitoring system will lead us inevitably to lion being placed on Appendix 1 of CITES with all sorts of ramifications for rural development.

We need the lion project people to make a case for what they appear to have permission from ZAWA to do. But they must realize that going ahead with the takeover of a forest reserve (who gave them permission?) without an EIA from ECZ and all the other permissions and clearances required, is unwise. There are international standards and conventions in place here, as well as acceptance of a Western liberal democratic tradition - despite the corruption and the cavalier signing off of our resources. But these things require to be defended, the cant, humbug and hypocrisy punctured, the misguided and corrupt decision makers exposed. Zambia signed up for the principles of the Commission for Africa, as a result of which the G8 wrote off the debt. Let the Government now live up to its part of the bargain, and let the donors develop some backbone. Meanwhile, we, the ham in the sandwich...!