BY RICHARD T. CHEATHAM, DSC FOUNDATION PRESIDENT

This article was originally featured in the July edition of Camp Talk.

Some of you may have seen reports of a lion that was killed outside of Kruger National Park (KNP). In typical fashion, attempts to sensationalize the story and use it as the basis for an attack against hunting have ensued. One initial article claimed that the lion was lured out of the park, may have been a known and named pride lion, and would have returned to the park had he not been killed by an alleged wealthy American hunter.

Such stories, often accepted as fact without any effort to verify accuracy, feed anti-hunters and affect the views of the large segment of non-hunters. Like libelous tweets that are later deleted, the damage is done when the tweet is published, and the damage is never cured by the retraction. Peter Flack, a name that should be known to everyone who hunts Africa, addressed the latest controversy in a recent letter to the editor of the Daily Maverick, entitled “Kruger Lions: Who really cares about conservation?”

Flack states that “it is abundantly clear from their consistently emotional writings, usually devoid of any scientifically established fact or anything approaching and alternative conservation solution to hunting, that [the author of the article and others like him] do not give a fig for conservation in our country or anywhere else for that matter.”

That is what we are up against: emotion-based, devoid-of-fact propaganda. That is why it is so vitally important to present our side proactively when possible, but reactively swift when necessary. That is why our message must be presented in a way that resonates far beyond the membership. DSC Foundation has shared Flack’s letter on its Facebook page and on DSCF.org.

More information from the Umbabat Private Nature Reserve, rebutting the claims in the initial speculative article, can also be found on the DSCF Facebook page. The report from Umbabat establishes that the hunted lion was not lured from KNP and was not a named pride lion, but rather a lion well past his prime.

It bears repeating – each of you are ambassadors for hunting. If you want to insure that big game hunting continues, in Africa and elsewhere, be ready to defend it with facts and reason. CT