Cecil is dead – now what?

Despite international media attention concerning the killing of Cecil the lion by a U.S. trophy hunter, those on the front lines of wildlife conservation are frustrated by the coverage, says Laurence Frank, a researcher with Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and director of the Living with Lions program in Kenya.

lion

Lion in Masai Mara, Kenya (LIEU SONG via Wikipedia)

Trophy hunters “are the least of the problems facing Africa’s roughly 30,000 remaining lions,” he writes in a recent opinion piece. Today there are “fewer lions, more cattle, more warriors, and cheap agricultural pesticides that may wipe out whole prides,” Frank says. And for every male lion shot legally by a trophy hunter, many more lions of both sexes “are illegally poisoned, speared or shot.”

Based on his work in Africa, pressure for effective conservation, coming from western governments, is essential “if we are to reverse the decline in wildlife,” he writes. “Lions don’t need PETA. They need another conservationist like Teddy Roosevelt in the White House.”

Read Laurence Frank’s post on the Berkeley Blog.