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Trophy Hunting of Lions Could Save the Species, According to Report

Sep 26, 2016 04:51 AM EDT

Strange as it my sound, a new report from University of Kent reveals that trophy hunting of lions could have a big role in conserving the species.

According to the study published in the journal PLOS ONE, land for lions to live are slowly diminishing as managing such expansive areas could be costly. The researchers reveal that extensive land managed by trophy hunting institutions could alleviate this added cost while still helping conservation.

Dr. Henry Brink and Dr Bob Smith from DICE (the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology), and Professor Nigel Leader-Williams from the University of Cambridge's Department of Geography studied the trophy hunting data of lions (Panthera leo) from 1996 to 2008 at the Selous Game Reserve (SGR) in Tanzania.

The said reserve is one of the most important destinations for lion trophy hunting. The researchers tried tp determine the relationship of resource ownership patterns to hunting revenue and the animal's offtake levels.

Results showed that lands under long-term tenure had the steepest decline in trophy offtake and the highest lion hunting offtake. Meanwhile, lands under long-term tenure "matched more closely the recommended sustainable offtake of 0.92 lions per 1000 km2," the study writes.

Science Daily notes that this research aims to change practices for trophy hunting of lions. Leader-Williams says that currently, land blocks for hunting are sold at a cheap price while the government raises a higher quota and fee for each hunted lion. This, in turn, pushes hunters in short-term tenured lands to hunt more lions than those in the long-term tenured lands, not thinking about long-term sustainability.

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