The ban was initially instated in conjunction with a closure associated with a reallocation of leases for 19 game management areas stopping all hunting in Zambia. After substantial losses in revenue, the closure was lifted in August of 2014 for all game except big cats and elephants. Although the Zambian Wildlife Authority was already implementing a mandated Conservation Strategy and Action Plan for the African Lion with the sole purpose of ensuring the future for the Zambian lion population through maintenance, restoration and problem animal control, the ban for big cats remained because of "weak regulatory mechanisms" and the government was under the impression that their populations were depleting.
Zambia, however, is one of 5 countries to have lion populations 1000+ individuals strong and, in areas with thriving lion populations, a hunting ban could actually have potentially deleterious effects (and not just on eco-tourism). Studies have shown that the presence of hunters deters poachers, providing protection for the habitat and other animals. Revenue brought in by hunters also contributes to anti-poaching efforts as well as community assistance by providing jobs and other resources.