A safari company has upset animal-rights activists by launching a “full lion trophy hunt” raffle—mere months after Cecil the lion’s killing attracted worldwide attention, Sky News reports.
Tickets for the Bubye Valley Conservancy raffle in Zimbabwe cost about $1,500 each, with the winner getting an 18-day “lion safari” (or a non-hunting “photographic” safari in which a male lion is collared for research, the Telegraph notes).
Oxford University academics Dr Byron du Preez and PhD student Paul Trethowan work with The Bubye Valley Conservancy, and have come under fire.
Neither were available to comment when the newspaper attempted to contact them.
Donations of £785,000 were received by the university’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) after Cecil’s death.
Dr Pieter Kat, representing charity LionAid, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘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.’
Tory MP David Jones added: ‘This is shocking and Oxford University should be distancing itself from this immediately. Events such as this are sickening.’
Martin Nel, who is due to lead the hunt, defended the raffle, saying trophy hunting has a place in conservation.
He said: ‘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.’
Bertha R. Massie