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Big Cats Spared by Zambia as It Allows Trophy Hunting Resumption

Zambia, the southern African nation with nearly a third of its land reserved for wildlife, has lifted a ban on hunting for species other than wild cats.

“The suspension of safari hunting is hereby lifted,” Tourism and Arts Minister Jean Kapata said in comments broadcast on Lusaka-based Radio Phoenix. “The suspension of cat hunting shall still remain in force until a survey to ascertain their numbers” is complete.

Zambia, where rhinos and elephants roam 20 national parks together with animals ranging from antelopes to hyenas, suspended hunting in January last year, saying its wildlife would be more beneficial alive.

Sylvia Masebo, then tourism minister, also said there was corruption involved in awarding hunting concessions. Wildlife tourism is a pillar of government’s plan to diversify the economy away from copper that accounts for about two-thirds of foreign-exchange earnings.

Zambia has a lion population of about 850, according to a 2013 estimate by LionAid, a U.K.-based conservation organization. Leopards and cheetah are also found in the country’s parks.

South Africa and Zimbabwe allow hunting while Kenya bans it. In 2012 foreign hunters paid $118 million for the right to shoot animals in South Africa.

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