Africa is the last true wild frontier in the world; its wildlife racks up more than $30 billion annually. But, in countries such as Zimbabwe, less money is reaching the government and animal extinction is becoming a reality. The ruthless killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe sent shockwaves around the world. It raises the question of whether Africa is getting a raw deal for its wildlife.
In 2012, the tourism sector contributed 10% to Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the projection was that by this year it should have reached 15%. Statistics for this year are only available in 2016 but there has been a surge in tourists, particularly from the United States.
Some American tourists, though, have been caught on the wrong side of the law by participating in unsanctioned lion hunts.
Johnny Rodrigues, a wildlife conservationist, believes the biggest problem standing in the way of animal conservation in Zimbabwe is corruption.
“In the case of Cecil, an American tourist bribed guides for $55,000 to kill a lion that was at the center of major international research. There are many such cases that go unreported,” he says.
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