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Just Who Do They Think They Are?

Nov 19, 2013, 1:00 AM EDT

Melissa Bachman lion

Winchester Deadly Passion host Melissa Bachman is the target of anti hunters, but the troubling aspect is that she legally and ethically hunted lion following all South African laws.  At the time of this writing there were 205,000 supporters on a petition on Change.org demanding South Africa deny future entry to Melissa -just who do they think they are? Check out this clip from USA Today of what’s going on.

What you must understand is that there is a stigma attached to hunting lion in South Africa because the majority of hunting takes place under high-fence. Some claim that it’s a ‘canned hunt’ assuming lions are bred, released and immediately killed in an unethical manner. However, based on the National Draft Policy, Norms and Standards for Large Predators there are serious restrictions in place that outfitters in South Africa are required to follow. No lion may be hunted without authorization, no human-imprinted lion may be hunted, the lion may not be artificially lured by sound, scent, visual stimuli, feeding, bait, etc., no dogs may be used except if an animal is wounded, lion cannot be hunted under the influence of any tranquilizer, it is illegal to hunt at night, all hunting must be done on foot and at least 200 metres from the vehicle, it cannot be hunted in a pride situation and the list goes on. Needless to say, the restrictions are intense to avoid scrutinizing.  The fact of the matter is that lion numbers in South Africa are strong enough to support hunting and so it continues.

We hunters are small in numbers and the antis, with obnoxiously loud voices, are like fleas that attack in incredible numbers. Unless we can rally support, we will remain a target even where legal and ethical hunting takes place. Personally, I don’t think they’ll succeed in getting South Africa to deny Melissa future entry, however, I am fearful that such harassment could create enough pressure to make law makers rethink allowing such hunts to take place. What can we do about this?

  1. debruin85 - Nov 21, 2013 at 6:12 AM

    It has come under the attention of the South African Predator Association that Melissa Bachman’s posting of her hunting trophy photographs on Face Book and Twitter has drawn a huge negative response from far and wide. In South Africa a photograph showing a smiling Bachman behind her trophy lion has elicited severe criticism, as if this lion is the last nail in the coffin of the African lion as a species.

    This outcry, how well meant it might be, is utter nonsense. It comes either from people that are totally misinformed or from people with a mindset created by Walt Disney.

    Responsible and sustainable hunting of game species is an internationally accepted norm and it is practised all over the world. Elephant, lion and buffalo and all other game species are hunted in South Africa in a responsible and sustainable manner. The hunting industry constitutes a very important sector of the South African economy: it earns revenue for the country, it creates employment, it provides food and it contributes to conservation. It has engineered the survival of several game species that were on the brink of extinction.

    South Africa has several healthy and thriving free roaming lion populations, mainly in national, provincial and private game reserves. They are well cared for and they are under no threat, except disease (bovine TB in Kruger National Park). Their numbers are estimated at around 3 000 and they may not to be hunted.

    Additional to the free roaming lion populations, South Africa has between 4 000 and 5 000 ranch lions (captive bred lions). The keeping and hunting of ranch lions are strictly regulated by national and provincial legislation. The provincial lion hunting regulations as well as the SA Predator Association’s norms and standards explicitly prohibit hunting practices associated with “canned hunting”. No lion hunt undertaken under the auspices of provincial regulations or under the auspices of the SA Predator Association’s Norms and Standards can be construed as a “canned hunt”. “Canned” lion hunting is illegal in South Africa and is totally rejected by the industry.

    Me Bachman’s lion hunt was conducted on the Maroi private game ranch in Limpopo Province under that province’s legal requirements and therefore completely legal. She testified to the fact that it was a classic walk-and-stalk hunt, which is the basis of the fair chase mode of hunting.

    The ranch lion industry in South Africa was developed on the legal basis provided by the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1989 and the National Environmental Management (Biodiversity) Act 10, 2004 and rests upon the principle of the sustainable use of wildlife species, acknowledged by the IUCN. While the ranch lion industry is primarily, like the ostrich industry, a commercial farming operation, it offers substantial conservation value. The 4 000 – 5 000 ranch lions represent a significant lion population in the broader context of dwindling numbers of the free roaming populations – estimated at between 16 500 and 30 000 in the whole of Africa. Every ranch lion hunted in South Africa “saves” at least one lion in the wild. Contrary to popular belief, captive bred lions can be successfully introduced into wild environments, thus rendering the real possibility of repopulating lion habitats and reserves in Africa where they became extinct.

    The kind of remarks made by some people on Me Bachman’s hunting activities is not only outrageous and dangerous, but it is exactly the kind of ignorance and misinformation that we as the South African Predator Association so passionately vow to combat and eliminate in order to protect the African conservation community at large from another embarrassment such as which the Rhino as a species is still facing today.

    Pieter JJS Potgieter

    President: SA Predator Association

    2013-11-18

  2. joesmom - Nov 27, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    The letter above from “Pieter Potgieter” is deceiving. He is not a member of any gov’t agency. He runs the “South African Predator Association” and their purpose (from their website): “Co-ordinate and promote the interests of its members with the view of establishing and maintaining a healthy and profitable predator breeding and hunting industry.” In other words, they poach animals off reserves, including killing mothers and taking babies to be raised in captivity for the sole purpose of big game hunts for high paying (mostly) Americans. Where do you think these “legal” animals come from? Sure, it is legal to hunt on private late, but those animals are taken from the wild. When they are dead, the Conservancies sell the skeletons to buyers in Asia where the bones are mixed into a paste laced with opium for effect and sold as Chinese medicines. One lion skeleton brings over $60,000 on the street. Owners of these canned hunt ranges make money on both ends, legal hunts, and illegal profiting of animal parts. This industry needs to be stopped. If Americans want a blood fix, go shoot a deer. Just be sure to eat it, otherwise it is a waste, a bad kill. Have some respect for this world!

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