Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lion Encounter

One of the main reasons for this trip is for Tim Herald to hunt a mature lion.  The law in Mozambique is the lions must be over six years old in order to shoot them. Tim is a very ethical guy and wants to stick by this law because if a younger male is shot then their offspring would be killed by another lion. The law is in place to for the conservation of wildlife here in the Niassa Reserve.
We were checking lion bait in the morning and drove up on a piece of bait hanging from a tree as a lion ran off.  They said the lion went over the hill, so I jumped out of the truck with the camera to get ready in case it showed it's face again. Then I heard one of the trackers whispering about another lion. I immediately began scanning the tall grass when my eyes focused just 20 yards in front of us. Man, did my heart start pounding! The lion was just watching us and I felt pretty vulnerable standing out in the open with my camera and tripod. We watched it for a minute and realized the lion could care less that we were there. I stood there for a little while and get some good footage before the lion got tired of us watching him and walked off.
A lot of hunters don't care about the six year law because they just want a lion, so if they see a good looking lion like this one, they would just shoot it. I think the fine is 5k, so to most of these guys that's like pocket change. This lion was aged at about 5 years old, so Tim's guide told him he couldn't shot it. I guess in South Africa some of the lions are caged in for rich hunters to come over and shoot them easily. This is very unethical. The lions have no chance in life. With this show Tim is ripping apart those operations and bad mouthing the hunters who pay for it and pretend like it is a real lion hunt. Here in Mozambique the lions are free to roam wherever they want, even through our camp. The populations are increasing, along with most of the wildlife, so the hunting is important to control the populations.
It was an amazing experience and the trip has just begun : )

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