Andries
Aug 30, 2017

Make That 7. Donkeys Take No Nonsense Too!

1 comment

Edited: Aug 31, 2017

 

My younger son and friends with a solitary injured donkey they acquainted while hunting around a cattle ranch. Deep claw serrations on its rump drew their attention and these proved to have been made by a lion. During the previous 30-40 days no less than 20 calves had been removed from the herds with lion tracks around, but despite the rancher's best efforts the lion could not be found amongst the canyons. The donkey's position finally gave them a clue.

 

The rancher obtained a permit from the Department of Nature Conservation for removal of a problem animal and later that afternoon the lion was spotted and shot.

 

It was an old female but in excellent physical condition. It was also evident that she had recently suffered a serious injury to her jaw. Closer inspection revealed that this impact fracture resembled not the jawbone of an ass but the rear hoof of a donkey. From where this solitary lioness that nobody in the whole county new anything about had made her way onto this ranch is a mystery.

 

The still in shock donkey was force fed about half a beer by the young men as a sedative, I was told.

Andries
Aug 31, 2017

This riddle suddenly came to mind: "What is sweeter than the nectar of the grain? and what is stronger than [ the jawbone of ] a lion?

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    Jul 4, 2017

    It is the infanticide after a productive male had been killed that inhibits the sustainability of prides. When a new male joins a pride he invariably will kill the cubs in order to bring lionesses into oestrus again so he can produce his own bloodline offspring. To allow the sustainability of the best blood lines as well as hunting, males must never be shot until they are 7 years or older. In fact, taking an 8 year old male in a way preserves his memory and still good-looking pelt. After 8 years their condition will go down and many die of hunger. Lions are the only big cats in the world that establish social structures. Prides typically consist of 4-5 adult lionesses, their dependent cubs, and a temporary coalition of family males - until the latter within moments can become enemies due to mating rights or the denial thereof. These males normally play a key role in defending their pride against invading males by forming coalitions of 2-3 individuals to defend the pride’s territory by roaring, patrolling, scent marking and aggressively attacking invading males. Infanticide ensures that the new male will pass on his genes to boost his reproductive character while reducing the DNA of the previous dominant males. Trophy hunting over bait has by default killed the strongest male who had executed dominance over the bait, thereby allowing a lesser animal who would not have been able to fight him to kill his offspring and maybe mate with the lionesses in the pride The social nature of lions and common employment of infanticide means that lion populations are greatly impacted by the loss of productive males. For example, after 72% of the adult males studied in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe had been killed by trophy hunters when they roamed onto private land, these pride males were replaced by invading lion that caused high rates of infanticide and markedly disrupted population stability ( Loveridge et al. 2007 ). As a general rule, hunting males older than 7 years ensures the quantity as well as the quality of the population AND of the long-term huntability. The science of determining lions' age grew out of the need to make trophy hunting sustainable and therefor ethical. Determining a lions age is important for the ethical trophy hunter; I believe I can tell any lion's age to within a year. Lion trophy hunting must be managed in a way that reduces directly related infanticide to achieve sustainable lion populations and long-term hunting. Sustainable trophy hunting can be accomplished by killing only adult males that have raised cubs to independence. This is exactly the reason for the excellent growth in lion populations on large private properties in South Africa.

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