Leica CL, 55-135.

Not really because of the photograph, but to raise a question.

An ethical Lion rescue center in Livingstone. These cubs were born in captivity, as the parents were too heavily wounded by snares to be released back into the wild after treatment.
These four are being trained for release, but they will be too habituated to be suitable for anything but secure private reserves.
To raise money, tourists are allowed to participate in the walks with their trainers.

For :
Lions are rapidly getting endangered, Numbers must be preserved and increased.
Lions impacted by human action (poaching) should be rescued and rehabilitated.
Rescue and rehabilitation centers must generate revenue to function.

Habituating makes them unsuitable for release into areas where they might be at risk from humans
Even if they are released into private game reserves, there is always the risk that they will end up in the canned hunting circuit
Given that they will most likely be released a very long way from their origin, there will be hybridization of a subspecies in the future.

What do you think of this ethical dilemma?

Hi Jaapv. Thanks for posting this in Human and Fauna. First of all, I like the photograph. The composition works very nicely and I like the black and white treatment.

As for the pros and cons, the only thing I’ll say is that my personal take from volunteering in the ecological field for 20 years is that the worry over “hybridizing” among regional subspecies when the whole species is endangered strikes me as a very misplaced concern. The genes aren’t going to go away.

That concern is based on the arguments explained in “Last Animals at the Zoo” by Colin Tudge, which addresses the genetic aspects of conservation. The point is that the genes are going away by neglecting such problems. Mismanaging genetic diversity will weaken the species instead of conserving it.
One sad example of an important subspecies dying out is the recent extinction of the Northern White Rhino. I must dig up the photograph I took of one of the last two females a few years ago.

BTW, the photograph was taken under my direction and by my camera, but I obviously did not push the shutter :wink: .