Sunday, January 25, 2009

Re-Thinking Lion Conservation

Lion - Louisville ZooImage via WikipediaI always enjoy reading California Magazine, the alumni magazine for UC Berkeley. This month's article Lion King profiled Laurence Frank, a carnivore biologist with UC, and advances an interesting theory on Lion conservation.

Basically, Frank wants to stabilize the quickly deteriorating population via hunting. It seems counter-intuitive, but his argumnent is that local tribesman don't have an economic interest in the Lion population. In fact, they actually poison lions because the big cats prey on the cattle herds. However, hunting would bring in lot's of money and ensuring that a good chunk of it lands in the tribesman's pockets would motivate them to protect lions. It's an interesting idea. Regardless, something needs to be done, as there are only about 30,000 lions left in West Africa...
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