XANDA is no more!

So Cecil’s son, Xanda, a six year old male lion, has been legally killed by a hunter outside the boundary of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park , and a new campaign is now on, to vilify hunting by the world’s rabid animal rights organisations. THAT is an obvious consequence of their involvement in this episode because THAT is the way they make their money.

Masha Kalinina of the Humane Society International claims that: “The killing of Xanda just goes to show that trophy hunters have learnt nothing from the international outcry that followed Cecil’s death.” It also goes to show that SHE knows nothing about lions, lion ecology, lion behaviour, or the intricacies of modern day wildlife management practices. SHE – and the Humane Society International – should learn to leave the management of Africa’s lions in the hands of the people who know how to manage them.

Xanda and his pride were clearly superfluous to Hwange’s lion population. There are only a limited number of viable lion territories inside a national park and no male lion worth its salt will leave its established and hard-fought-for-territory to wander onto unknown lands outside the park boundary. That can mean only one thing. Xanda was pressurised (by other dominant lions inside Hwange) to seek pastures new.

Xanda’s death – and even the death of his entire pride – will do absolutely nothing to stop lions slipping into extinction if that is to be their fate. Kalinina goes on to say that: “To stop lions slipping into extinction, it is critical that countries like Zimbabwe keep as many lions as possible and shift away from the trophy hunting industry.”  THAT statement is absolute balderdash and it demonstrates just how far this woman is away from reality.

I take it that Kalinina professes that she does not eat meat, fish or poultry; and that she does not drink tea with even a little-bit-of-milk in it? If she does any of these things she is a hypocrite. In the case of the management of the dairy farms that produce her milk, she should make herself aware of the fact that dairy calves are separated from their mothers at birth; and shortly thereafter the bull calves are taken away and slaughtered. Does THAT make HER culpable of anything?

It is easy to criticise the principles and practices of any kind of animal management – with people who are detached from the realities of life on this planet – because every facet of responsible and sustainable animal management (wild and domestic) involves killing of one kind or another. Being killed or dying are, in fact, an integral part of life on planet earth. The true animal welfare people accept this reality. Their only plea is that when man kills an animal to obtain benefits for mankind that the killing process is carried out without cruelty.

What the world has to understand about animal rightists – who are a very different kind of people to animal welfarists – is that their stated objective is to ABOLISH all animal uses by man. ALL ANIMAL USES BY MAN!!! Read the TGA’s position paper on the animal rights doctrine on our website (www.mahohboh.org) and discover just WHAT kind of people they really are.   And hunting is one of their pet hates. It is no surprise, therefore, that the Humane Society International should come out in defence of Cecil and Xanda. And, believe me, they will make a great deal of money by ‘racketeering’ his demise.

Both Cecil and Xanda were shot legally within a system that “harvests” excess lions for the benefit of the people who live with these animals. The money the landowners accrue from the hunting process is used by them to keep the habitats on their land healthy so that they can continue to support populations of a large variety of other wild animals. So the death of the odd lion helps to maintain healthy wildlife populations living in healthy habitats in the wild; just as the slaughtering of an ox puts meat of our braaivleis grills on a Saturday afternoon.

We must learn from this lesson – that the emotionally-charged appeals put out by animal rightist NGOs in their propaganda machinery should be ignored; because there are just as many people who enjoy hunting – and who understand hunting – as there are people who abhor it. And it is legal!

If lions are to be saved from extinction, they are going to have to pay their way into the future by providing sustainable survival benefits for Africa’s burgeoning human populations. And total protection from individual harm – as the Human Society International demands – is NOT the way that that is going to be achieved.

My response on the article in the New York Times

Ron Thomson

I am NOT a ‘trophy hunter’ - and never have been. I am not involved in the trophy hunting safari business. I am also not a game rancher. But I have ‘administratively controlled’ professional hunters and safari outfitters in my capacity as a government game warden. I am an 80 year old ex-game warden with 60 years of continuous experience in hands-on wildlife management, and national park management, in Africa (1959 to 2019). In breakdown, I have 24 years experience in the management of national parks in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe - and in the management of the wild animal populations that lived inside those national parks; one year as the Chief Nature Conservation of the Ciskei in South Africa; three years as Director of the Bophuthatswana National Parks Board in South Africa; and I worked for three years as a professional hunter in the South African Great Karoo (taking foreign hunters on quests for plains game trophies). I discovered, however, that professional hunting was not my forte. I worked as an investigative wildlife journalist for 30 years in South Africa. I have written fifteen books and hundreds of magazine articles on the subject of wildlife management and big game hunting in Africa. Five of my books are university-level text books on wildlife management. I am a university-trained ecologist; was a member of the Institute of Biology (London) for 20 years; and was a registered chartered biologist for the European Union for 20 years. I have VAST experience in the “management hunting” of elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and hippos (as part of my official national park work in the control of problem animals); and I pioneered the capture of black rhino in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley (1964 - 1970). My university thesis was entitled: “The Factors Affecting the Survival and Distribution of Black Rhinos in Rhodesia”. Look at my personal website if you want any further details about my experience: www.ronthomsonshuntingbooks.co.za.

Ron Thomson has 159 posts and counting. See all posts by Ron Thomson

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