Hi Diane @timeforunrest thanks for all the Tweets, deserves longer response so will use a thread. Firstly, I totally hear & understand your visceral hatred of TH and dislike of hunters: I really don't like it either, but it is much more complex & will explain my key responses 1/n
First, you were worried about bias & if I was paid by TH (no) but you are relying on a Born Free report. I believe BOTH pro- & anti-hunting groups have a financial incentive to provide biased information, so better to rely on independent data, e.g IUCN or peer reviewed papers 2/n
You are rightly worried about animal killing, but the key is whether that would increase or decrease if TH was removed. People assume that TH can just be replaced by photo tourism, but that simply isn't true, & is not happening in many vacant TH areas right now. So what now? 3/n
The reality is that many TH areas are likely to be converted to human-dominated land, where killings are often 10x, sometimes 50x, more than would be allowed under TH. These are awful deaths & involve many other spp plus habitat loss. None of us want that (gory pics next) 4/n
THESE are the kinds of deaths - including pregnant females, cubs, and many species like endangered vultures - that happen where wildlife has no value. These happen far away from social media, but they DO happen often & people must think about these unintended consequences (5/n)
I am not ashamed to say I cry over those killings, & we have worked incredibly hard to reduce them. It devastates me that now, one of the growing threats to lions is not TH, but animal rights campaigns to ban TH w/o alternatives, as that directly increases these killings (6/n)
I always ask people if they hate TH enough to have more lions killed through poisoning, snaring etc - if yes, then campaigning for bans makes sense. If no, & they want to reduce total killings, then we HAVE to ensure viable alternatives are ready before TH is removed (7/n)
So I think we have a lot of common ground in not wanting animals killed in TH, but I am not willing to stop TH only to increase other awful killings. It is all about timings - let's really find viable alternatives first in partnership with local people (8/n)
Back to wildlife, we know that habitat loss is a primary driver of biodiversity loss, & TH areas protect more lion range in Africa than National Parks. It would be madness to campaign to remove Parks without a better option to protect habitat & the same is true for TH areas 10/n
So to end, it is complex: you have never been to Africa, & it is true that 'every problem is simple from a distance'. We need open, honest discussions & to ensure we all work together to ensure well-meaning campaigns don't end up actually harming wildlife or local people. Thanks!
PS logging off now, but good Q came in about canned lion hunting. To clarify, I am talking about wild TH: canned hunting is clearly unethical, not supported by IUCN etc, and does not have habitat conservation benefits to lions. Thanks & bye for now!
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