Apparently having learned nothing from the case of Walter Palmer and Cecil, a highly controversial raffle is now offering a first prize of the chance to shoot a lion.
As reported by the Mail on Sunday, the $1,500 (£1,000) per ticket raffle is being held by The Bubye Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe – a group with links to Oxford University. The organisation’s website even provides links to a taxidermist who can arrange shipping of the dead animal.
Wildlife campaigners are understandably furious about the competition, which offers the winner an 18-day safari and the chance to kill a lion, and Oxford University academics Dr Byron du Preez and PhD student Paul Trethowan, who work with The Bubye Valley Conservancy, have both come under fire.
The outrage over the raffle follows the widespread condemnation last August after it emerged that U.S. dentist Walter Palmer had paid £35,000 to kill famous lion Cecil in Zimbabwe.
So strong was the emotion following Cecil’s death, Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) received donations totalling £785,000.
Dr Pieter Kat, representing charity LionAid, told the Mail:
We are shocked and appalled by this lion trophy raffle from WildCRU’s close associates. The generosity of public donations was given to WildCRU to protect lions like Cecil and I hope Oxford University will use monies given in good faith to protect lions from future trophy hunting, which has no benefit to the conservation of a species in catastrophic decline.
The winner will be drawn next month at the Safari Club International Convention in Las Vegas, which bills itself as the ‘ultimate hunters’ market’.
Martin Nel, who is due to lead the hunt, defended the raffle and noted it was open to everyone, regardless of whether or not they wanted to actually kill the lion.
Everyone who has been actively involved in research in Africa agrees that trophy hunting has its place in conservation on the continent, and BVC’s achievements highlight this fact.