Reuters in Lusaka
The Guardian, Thursday 10 January 2013 15.56 GMT
Zambia has banned the hunting of lions and other endangered wild cats such as leopards because it sees more value in tourism than blood sport, the country's tourism minister said.
Sylvia Masebo told Reuters on Thursday that big cat numbers were also too low to have a sustainable hunting industry, saying: "Tourists come to Zambia to see the lion and if we lose the lion we will be killing our tourism industry."
The estimated $3m (£1.9m) Zambia earned a year from safari hunting was too little to merit the continued depletion of the country's wildlife, she said.
The leopard population for the sprawling southern African country is not known while lion numbers are not believed to exceed 4,500. Estimates for lion population in Africa as a whole vary from 15,000 to 30,000, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and is falling in the face of numerous threats including conflict with livestock farmers and loss of prey and habitat.