‘Cecil effect’ could become a problem

hunter with gun

Let’s talk about Cecil, the African lion killed in July 2015 ago by an American hunter. That incident caused international uproar and was the source of all sorts of accusations, overreactions, ugly untruths and unwarranted restrictions, new regulations, charges and much, much more.


When the dust settled, the hunter was found to be mistakenly accused and actually broke no laws.

Second thoughts

Nevertheless, countless hunters who would have travelled to Africa for safaris and other outdoor adventures thought twice then booked adventure in other directions.

Some of the offal continues to surface. The following is a short version of what happens when game management by hunting doesn’t happen as reported by the Outdoor Hub media news source.

Large lion reserve

One of Zimbabwe’s largest wildlife reserves, the Bubye Valley Conservancy, recently announced that it was considering culling up to 200 lions as the cats have become increasingly overpopulated.

The wildlife reserve said its current population of around 500 lions is unsustainable due to the dramatic decline in hunters, possibly caused by the controversy over Cecil, a lion killed near Hwange National Park last year.

Managing the lion population

Bubye officials say that without hunters to help manage the lion population, they are considering either hiring marksmen to shoot some of the animals, or capturing them and donating the cats to other reserves. Bubye has historically held one of the largest lion populations in Zimbabwe.

Threatening other species

Leathem explained that the lions are a big threat to the park’s other denizens, which included antelope, giraffes, leopards, and a number of other native species. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that the conservancy is trying to recover from one of the driest summers on record.

Hunters traditionally helped to keep lion numbers in check, as well as bringing a much needed financial boost to the park.

Cecil effect

However, officials are now blaming something they call the “Cecil effect” for the lack of hunters.

In 2015, the hunting of a black-maned lion named Cecil by an American dentist, Walter Palmer, drew international outrage after the Zimbabwe government accused Palmer of poaching.

The charges were later dropped, but activist groups continued to target big game hunters in Africa and urged many governments, including Zimbabwe, to close their borders to hunters.

This is despite the fact that many conservationists have long agreed that hunters are needed to not only manage wildlife populations, but also provide the funds to protect the same species they hunt.

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Boating and fishing seminars

Boaters and anglers are invited to attend one of more of several seminars offered at Ravenna Marine on March 4-5.

Seminars include topics on fishing as well as boat and trailer care. Speakers will cover battery basics, trailer tires, fishing methods, local lake fish management and more.
Seminars are non-stop both days and attendance is free, which includes a free perch lunch prepared by Lake Erie perch guide Bill Huber.

Call Ravenna Marine for more information, times and topics at 330-296-5590.


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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.



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