The story of Zimbabwe's Cecil the lion, allegedly killed as part of a safari adventure tour, is generating considerable discussion.

Rob Dunham, an Alberta-based outfitter who often takes clients to Saskatchewan, said American hunters are interested in big game.

"[The] animals they come for in Saskatchewan, generally, are larger than most of the states that the clients normally live in," Dunham said Wednesday. "Florida doesn't have big white-tailed deer."

Dunham noted that Saskatchewan's outfitting industry is regulated, something he fully supports.

Saskatchewan also updated its regulations to impose harsher penalties on offences relating to poaching, including:

  • Serious conservation offences will carry a two-year suspension.
  • Three strikes rule: multiple convictions carry lifetime bans.
  • Individuals banned from hunting in other jurisdictions cannot purchase a licence in Saskatchewan.
Rob Dunham

Outfitter Rob Dunham. (Skype)

Dunham said respecting the bans of other locations makes sense.

"If someone does something wrong somewhere else, it's a crime against nature," Dunham said. "So why would we invite them to be fortunate enough to come and hunt in our province."

The Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation encourages hunters to report poachers.

"A poacher is a pretty low form of life in our opinion," the federation's Darrell Crabbe said. "Most people, when they see something going on that shouldn't be going on, they're usually very quick to help us solve those cases."

According to Saskatchewan's Environment Ministry, the province gets about 1,000 reports, per year, of poaching.