Of Lions and Lambies - part II
I keep having problems with my new re-loading venture and although I know what I am doing wrong, I have damaged about 10 cases so far trying to get the crimp right. Now my good friend from Texas, Bwana Chipolopolo (which means the man that never misses in our local Zambian venacular) tells me to take it easy and read the manuals many times over and then re-load when you don't have a whining kid at your heels - he's also a 45-70 fan although can't understand my need to load such heavy bullets. So as I happily go on crushing new brass and having to pull bullets out with a set of pliers, not much has been achieved workwise - did I mention my son has been home all week tugging at my long socks.
So I'll start off with a quote from George Schaller, a director of Wildlife Conservation International in the 70's, who did one of the first all encompassing studies on the African Lion, their habits and behavior in Tanzania's Serengeti. The book is called The Serengeti Lion and was first published in 1970 with the study reaching it's conclusion around the time I was born in 1968. He wrote this of the future survival of Lions and their prey in his summation:
" Conservation alone may not be sufficient to accomplish this objective, for the park (serengeti NP) is not a self contained unit. Wandering freely back and forth across its borders, the animals are coming into increasing conflict with agriculturalists and pastoralists, so much so that the huge herds may someday have to be managed through judicious cropping - not only to reduce the interference outside the park but also to keep them within the carrying capacity of the range within it. Any scheme that tampers with the hoofed animals automatically involves consideration of the predators."
Considering the time period within which this study took place, it is a glaring fact that already then a major threat to wildlife and the lions was the advancing tide of humanity. Many fail to understand Africa and it's open wilderness devoid of fences and barriers, devoid of organized cropping and structured land management, of roads and pre approved development plans. Open range land here for the most part is not privately owned, it is of a tribal nature - meaning the sovereignty of the people who have inhabited this land for centuries is recognized by the respective governments. There is no private ownership of land, everything either belongs to the incumbent tribe or the government. On a continent that is largely still considered a developing entity, how does one take the welfare of the wildlife and the wilderness above that of the people who lay claim to that land!
It is easy for us - sitting here in comfort and luxury, holding a coke and eating a TV dinner, to bemoan the loss of land to pasture and livestock, getting infuriated at those hunters who just go out there and kill stuff for the heck of it. However for a great majority of Africans, the key to their very livelihood and sometimes to surviving in a year or not, is this utilization of their tribal land to plant crops and raise livestock. Our arrogance towards these people and their attempts to simply make a living is only offset by the fact that they themselves often carry an semblance of acceptance towards the wildlife that destroy their crops, their livestock and their livelihood.
Remember this: most of Africa's National Parks were created in the early part of the 20th century not by Africans - many who at the time were still grappling with a colonial government that had taken their land from them - but by the 'white man's laws' imposed upon them by governments from across the ocean. While the recognition of the dwindling wildlife numbers - even then - brought on the establishment of the great national parks we now so vehemently argue over, it still meant the acceptance of a new concept to Africans - that of conservation and aesthetic value.
While I speak from my experience in Zambia, the story is similar in many other former colonial African states and while I do not claim my knowledge to be an exact science, this is what I know of Zambia and her protected areas. One of Zambia's best known wildlife figures, often refereed to as the father of conservation, was Norman Carr. Having served time as chief warden in Zambia's two biggest national parks he realized the need towards further protection for the national park boundaries and proposed a buffer zone which would be free of human encroachment while still allowing use of this land which belonged to particular tribes. Norman Carr persuaded the chiefs to give tourism and trophy hunting a try-out, a pioneering plan which today has become the mainstay of conservation funds earned by the Zambian wildlife authorities and which today is mainly focused upon trophy hunting. Through his efforts buffer zones called Game Management Areas around the national parks now offer wildlife and those large predators who require massive ranges to survive, habitat and protection which would otherwise have fallen to human habitation. In Zambia these areas, the ones that survive because trophy hunting pays for their existence, make up a greater surface area than all the national parks combined - in effect they protect more wildlife and habitat than any non hunting zones and the majority of Zambia's Lion Population resides and frequents these areas outside the national parks.
Tourism provides employment and widespread income to the tribe as a whole and a measure of protection through the upholding of wildlife laws and goals. However in today's competitive tourism market, there is only so much non consumptive tourism that is called for - everyone wants to see the fancy big 5 and stay in lodges and camps that are within the game rich national parks - no one wants to have to search for their photo opportunity, they get alarmed and bothered if Lions or Elephants or leopards don't drape themselves across the landcruiser hood - yes they care more for the totally protected areas, the national parks that have been the safe haven for many decades.
BUT what about those areas where lions, and leopards and elephants survive and 'trespass' on a regular basis, the areas that make up the home ranges of those animals not living within the comfort of the national park - does anyone want to come and see them - search them out over 10 or 20 days and pay top dollar to do so. I don't see any photographic dogooder prepared to pay in excess of $50,000 for 3 weeks in these areas like trophy hunters do, thus making these areas viable to conserve and protect?
Without a doubt more Lion reside and utilize land which is not within the confines of a national park - in Tanzania, in Zambia, in Mozambique, in Zimbabwe, in Botswana and even in Namibia there are more Lion resident in areas demarcated and protected by the consumptive tourism model - in other words: trophy hunting.
As a safari operator, the areas I am able to protect by providing hunting dollars will be far less attractive without the ability of offer Lion hunting - and thus I'd think twice about the effort to set up and conserve the land in question? Lion Safaris are prime and lucrative hunts around which most operators would set their annual budget and they are the mainstay of hunting operations within a season, as in Zambia for example where Lion is truly the King of hunts.
The task for me as operator and PH is to control my own desire for profit and for glory - namely the curtailment of Lion trophy offtake on a strict age basis and to stand accountable for this. I am the first to admit that safari operators and professional hunters too often look to a quick and easy end for their clients and often simply want success on a hunt rather than considering the long term effects of their actions. This is a topic of the next newsletter as I see the situation in Zambia reaching a critical stage in some areas - too often I've heard the phrase " well it's a cat and it has balls!" Seriously this is not helping the cause.
Regardless of this, the fact is the undeniable role hunting plays in providing otherwise doomed habitat with protection and therefore creating the environment for game and the large predators to roam freely.
So here's the point I'm getting at - listing the African Lion on the ESA will mean that trophy imports into the United States will be banned - a great victory for the anti-hunters and the arrogant Jouberts with their Lion movie. BUT here's the aftershock - the great tracts of Africa that I am talking about will now have a lesser value - unless of course the Jouberts are prepared to take cash out of their pockets and fund these wilderness areas - if they are so committed to conserving the lion then of course they'll take money and pay for the anti-poaching in the millions and millions of acres where hunting formerly footed the bill. I'd like to ask them and their entourage of anti-hunting lobby groups - are they prepared to pay as much towards the conservation of these areas once trophy hunting has ceased?
What will in it's place turn the income necessary to manage and protect these vast tracts of bio diversity? Sure they may have succeeded in wiping out the nasty sport of hunting Lions - hooray for the Jouberts a frabjous day, caloo calay - yet NOW WHAT! My bet is that silence will reign supreme and the fate of the Lions - well that's the subject of another movie - how the exotic trade to Asia and the sudden rise in poaching is now wiping out the African Lion, just like the Asian Tigers.
Mozambique Calling 2011
We have acquired 160,000 acres of hunting land which we will be opening up and developing this year. The good news is that the land in question has been frequently hunted since 2006 by our Mozambique PH with great results - so this is not a hunting area where we don't know what to expect. We are the legal owners and leaseholders of this land, we have hunting rights to it, we have a good big game quota AND past success points to elephant in the 70lbs class, black mane lion as well as a full complement of big Leopard.
So I'm not going to beat about the bush here - we have a quota to utilize for 2011 which includes Elephant, Lion, Leopard, Sable, Kudu, Waterbuck, Crocodile, Hippo and many more and we need hunters through this property to help fulfill the quota as well as take promotional video.
So here's what we have decided - all dangerous game hunts are sold at a start fee of $500 per day - then, when you shoot your prime trophy, you pay the normal brochure rate (which is still at a great discount). Take a look at the figures below -
21 Day Elephant hunt - $28,000 all inclusive - if you don't shoot the elephant you only pay $10,500 - you are allowed to take any other plainsgame species, including Sable and Buffalo, at no upgrade fee, only the trophy fee
21 Day Lion and plainsgame safari - $10,500
for this you get to hunt for Lion over 21 days and are allowed to take any other plainsgame species, including Sable and Buffalo, at no upgrade fee. ONLY if you shoot the Lion do you pay the standard Lion brochure price which is an additional upgrade of $20,400 and includes the trophy fee for the Lion. If you can get Leopard on bait this late in the year then you can upgrade to a Lion and Leopard safari all in at $43,500.
TOTAL all in for the 21 Day Lion is $30,900
this Lion was shot on the property in November 2007
10 Day Sable and Plainsgame hunt - $5000 and then trophy fee for Sable is $4,000 (Total price is $9,000 all inclusive) PLUS all other plainsgame can be taken on this hunt - Kudu, Lichtensteins Hartebeest, Wateruck, Hyena, Warthog, Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Grysbok, Duiker, Bushpig etc.
7 Day Crocodile and Hippo package hunts on the Zambezi which are inclusive of most fees - $8,900 for a 2x1 AND $10,900 for a 1x1 - MORE INFO HERE
Plainsgame Hunts - 7 to 14 days starting at $2,800
OK if you're the type who doesn't like commitment here's what we offer you - come out and tramp around a classic wilderness hunting concession, help out with opening roads and building bridges, shoot game for the pot all at - $400 per day. THEN if you do happen to see the trophy of a lifetime it's a simple matter of shooting it and paying the listed hunt price. Whatever we have available on quota will be available for you to shoot if you find that special beast.
This is an opportunity for those who have always wanted to hunt the classical African countries to do so at a price that you'll not find again. If you're already a seasoned African veteran then this is a cheap way to come and tramp around the bush with us and if your fancy takes, shoot some big critters without having the risk of up front excessive day fees.
Hunts start end August and run thru November 2011 - Give me a call if something takes your fancy or read - MORE INFO HERE
Pete Swanepoel @ 720-277 1920
ZAMBIA DEALS 2011
Some of you may recall my hunting exploits on a private hunting reserve at the southern end of the Luangwa Valley - the year was 2009 and I took some great trophies. WELL they have one Lion tag available at a reasonable rate and also offer you a partial refund if you do not shoot the Lion. I've personally hunted here and can vouch for the two PH's running the show - Andrew Baldry and Thor Kirchner. Along with the Lion there are excellent Hippo, Crocodile, magnificent bushbuck, Waterbuck, Kudu, Roan and all other Luangwa species. Check out this page from my 2009 exploits at Munyamadzi Reserve
18 day Lion Safari - $41,400 day fees (If no Lion is taken you pay $24,840) - MORE DETAILS HERE
Take a look at our Zambia Safaris for 2011
Zambia has no shortage of good ranch hunting properties, some are fenced like in South Africa, while others are open land very much like the government concessions, some even lie next to these or on the boundaries with National Parks. I have tied up with the local Taxidermist in Zambia - Mike Borman and his partner Kirk Hoffman who have a great selection of game ranch packages on their new website - it is worth a look - Bangweulu Bushcraft Safaris - they have some hunts which are quick and easy.
ALSO of interest for 2011 is our attempt at finally setting up a proper wingshooting Safari for Zambia - a kind of species collecting trip for the serious wingshooter. We have an incredible amount of of wild birds - waterfowl numbers and variety on the two major wetlands of Zambia (the Kafue Flats and the Bangweulu Swamps) is incredible while the many types of Francolin, Spurfowl and Guineas provide the essential walk up sporting adventure. We have a trip planned for September this year, an exploratory one as trying to set this operation up will not be without it's hiccups - but the effort will be well worth it and we need a group of at least 6 guns at around $4,800 each to make this work - EMAIL ME for further details
The South African Experience
This country, although not the classical African Safari destination, offers the best variety hunting on the continent at prices that are easy on the pocket. My younger brother has recently stepped away from the family cocoon and established his own Safari Operation there - Swanepoel & Furstenburg Safaris - offering the best of the country at reasonable rates - if you're after a South African Lion (approx. $22,000 all in for a big male) then they can help you - in addition they have an excellent property lying on the Kruger National park where the owner guarantees 43 inch buffalo - I have personally see the bulls here, and they are massive and it is not a set-up situation. In addition they offer 7 - 14 day traditional plains game hunts, not just a ranch hunt but a proper safari. Both these PH's have cut their teeth in Zambia and Botswana so they are not the typical 14 day PH fresh out of PH school - EMAIL ME for further details on these two youngsters and their hunts.
We have some excellent package deals for the traditional plains game safaris as well starting at $4,950 for 10 days inclusive of Gemsbok OR Red Hartebeest, Blesbok, Impala, Springbok AND Warthog OR Duiker OR Steenbok.
In Natal we have a classic Nyala Package hunt over 7 days at $7,950 inclusive of Nyala OR Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Mountain Reedbuck and Warthog.
EMAIL ME for further details on these package safaris to South Africa
Johannesburg - Cape Town
- Got time to kill between flights?...don't waste time hanging out at the airport! Hunt just outside Johannesburg or Cape Town for a variety of South African species including Cape Eland, Bontebok, Gemsbok, Blue and Black Wildebeest and Red Hartebeest. Quick and easy - email Pete
Desert Wilderness Expeditions in Namibia
In Namibia we have access to a true hunt, one of open spaces, camping beneath the stars, pursuit of hardy desert animals in their natural environment, nomadic herding tribes, a true exploration. No fences, these hunts are based on conservancies belonging to the Himba and Herero people, they make their living off the land, they are some of the last remaining true nomadic herders of Africa and very little has changed in their culture and habits.
Embark upon the classic 10 day expedition hunt - after the desert prince, the magnificent Gemsbok and the wiley Kalahari Springbok in a true desert wilderness - 2x1 10 day hunts start at $7800 per client inclusive of trophy fees.
EMAIL FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CLASSICAL EXPEDITION!