Lion

How the most famous man-eaters in the history of Africa ended up in the city of Chicago.

by Diana Rupp

The man-eaters of Tsavo, as they can be seen today on display in the Field Museum in Chicago. Photo courtesy of the Field Museum.

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A new initiative to restore lion populations across the African continent.


John Banovich, artist, conservationist, and founder of the Banovich Wildlife Foundation (BWF), has launched a new initiative to restore lion populations and ensure a future with lions in Africa. In February, BWF brought together some of Africa’s leading professional hunters and hunting/photographic companies, along with lion biologists and leading non-governmental organizations, to discuss how the hunting community can lead the way in African lion conservation.

Lion numbers have dropped to an estimated 30,000 in the wild, inhabiting only 17 percent of their former range. Much of the loss was historically due to exploding human and livestock numbers; spearing and poisoning has continued to decimate them wherever local people raise livestock. The news gets worse: Recent studies have shown that populations have also declined in many hunting areas, with too many young lions shot as trophies.
 

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How the study of these big African cats helps ensure their future.

By Paula A. White

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An examination of the extremely controversial practice of put-and-take lion hunting.

By Craig Boddington

It happens at least a couple of times at the major hunters' conventions. I'm shown a picture of a magnificent lion, so resplendent in mane that it is extremely unlikely that it's a wild lion. Of course it's a South African lion, so now there is little doubt about the actual circumstances. So be it, it's a beautiful lion . . . but then the explanation generally takes one of two turns. Either I get a long and involved story about how the lion came in from Botswana (at just the right time), or the hunter is apologetic. Then the story goes something like, "Yeah, I know that maybe it wasn't exactly kosher, but it sure is a beautiful lion."

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Lessons from a last-day lion.


By Craig Boddington

I have often written that the last day of a hunt is as good as the first. The reverse also applies: The first day is as good as the last. That said, on single-species hunts I hate to shoot on the first day. You have no way of knowing what else you might see, and in my particular (and peculiar) line of work it’s difficult to build a decent story out of first-day success. On the other hand, when Mother Nature smiles, it seems most unwise to kick dirt in her face. So, as a basic philosophy, an animal that fits the general criteria of whatever you’re looking for should probably be taken, whether it's the first day, last day, or anything in between.

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