On Friday a male lion, most-likely lured out of Kruger National Park with bait provided by an elephant and buffalo hunt, was shot by an alleged American trophy hunter in Umbabat Private Nature Reserve.
As per the Daily Maverick, unconfirmed reports suggest the lion may have been the leader of the Western Pride named Skye. If so, his cubs will be killed by another male taking over the pride.
Making the situation even more unfathomable, the tragic hunt took place despite non-profits EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, sent a Cease and Desist warning to the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR) chairman, Rob Garmany, CEO of Kruger Park Glen Philips and The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, threatening legal action if the hunt occurred.
Why are APNR members, which border Kruger National Park, even allowed to hunt animals from one of Africa’s premier, state-owned game reserves?
The non-profit organizations, the EMS Foundation which focuses on the advancement and protection of the rights and general welfare of wild animals, children, elderly persons and other vulnerable groups in South Africa and Africa and Ban Animal Trading which concentrates on local investigations into various forms of animal abuse and neglect as well as helping to educate South Africans about animal rights, are now considering the next legal steps they will take.
While few tourists are aware of this, a significant amount of hunting takes place in the APNR each year that is sanctioned by the Kruger National Park and Provincial Authorities.
According to the Daily Maverick, the combined permitted APNR quota for 2018 for national private reserves Timbavati, Klaserie, Umbabat and Balule was 4,467 wild animals. “This included 52 elephants plus a bull older than 50 in Umbabat which could potentially be a 100-pound tusker, which many argue should never be hunted. It also listed 36 buffalo (despite a 68% drop in numbers to 2,327 in 2017), 44 kudu, 19 warthogs, seven hippos, a lion, a leopard, eight hyenas, five giraffes and 4,171 impalas.”
A lion that was excluded by Kruger, the article continued, was hunted anyway after permission to hunt one was given by the licensing authority, the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency.
There is tension in the APNR association which represents 1,800 square kilometers of land that is supposedly dedicated to “conservation.” The strife continues to grow between lodges that rely on tourists who want to experience live animals and hunting properties and hunters who want to kill them.