Big Game: new documentary to end trophy hunting of African lions

Cecil the lion. Image Source: The Sun.



A project to produce ‘Ngala’, a documentary that explores the trophy hunting of lions, is gathering great momentum on the crowd funding platform, IndieGoGo, reports After Nyne’s Laura Andrew. Within the first week, the project received 30% of its £25,000 target in donations. Notable supporters included Game of Thrones’ Jerome Flynn, who will be the film’s narrator.

Trophy hunting is the selective hunting of game animals. Often a part of the animal carcass is kept as a trophy or souvenir. With regard to the African lion, this usually involves the skin, head or paws.

Jerome Flynn, who plays Bronn in HBO's 'Game of Thrones' supports the Ngala documentary. Image by © Terry Scott/Demotix/Corbis
Jerome Flynn, who plays Bronn in HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ supports the Ngala documentary. Image by © Terry Scott/Demotix/Corbis

Despite the species’ ‘threatened’ status, the African lion is often the target of trophy hunts. This includes hunting wild and ‘canned’ lions, which are specially bred to be hunted.

According to the WWF, the number of African lions in the wild has plummeted by 20% in the past 20 years and are now listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

With a specific focus on the rapid decline of the lion population in South Africa, ‘Ngala’ will document the work of big game hunters, as well NGOs and local communities who fight for the protection of the African lion.

The practice of trophy hunting in Africa came under international scrutiny earlier this month when Cecil the lion, one of Africa’s most famous lions and a celebrity at Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park, was hunted for sport. On 6 July, the alleged hunter, Walter J Palmer, killed Cecil with a bow and arrow. It is believed that Palmer paid $55,000 (£32,000) to hunt the lion.

Sir David Scholey poses next to the lion he hunted, 2011.
Sir David Scholey poses next to the lion he hunted, 2011.

Big game hunting also stepped into the public eye in 2011, when a photograph of Sir David Scholey, posing with a lion he hunted, appeared on Safari Bwana’s website, an African hunting authority. Sir Scholey was also pictured with elephant tusks and skull of a buffalo following a hunt in 2008. This sparked a petition to remove Sir Scholey’s knighthood, currently at 339,183 signatories. (The link to petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-remove-sir-david-scholey-s-knighthood)

Speaking to the Sun in 2011, Sir Scholey commented: “I have been hunting all over the world for many, many years and I have always hunted within the legal arrangements of the country concerned. I regard that as an entirely personal matter. All the animals I hunt are wild beasts. And I have felt threatened by them at times. The lion I killed certainly wasn’t an endangered species where I was hunting it.”

Ngala fundraising page can be found here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ngala-fighting-for-lions-ngalafilm#/story