Tourism minister Sylvia Masebo said big cat numbers were also too low to have a sustainable hunting industry.
“Tourists come to Zambia to see the lion and if we lose the lion we will be killing our tourism industry,” she said yesterday.
The money Zambia earned from safari hunting of all its wild animals annually was too little to merit the continued depletion of wildlife, she said.
“Why should we lose our animals for $3 million a year? The benefits we get from tourist visits are much higher,” she said.
The leopard population for the sprawling southern African country is not known. Lion numbers are not believed to exceed around 4,500.