South Africa To Ban Breeding Captive Lions For Hunting
South Africa is banning the breeding of captive lions solely for the purpose of hunting.
The announcement was made yesterday, May 2, and will also apply to lions and cubs being bred for tourists to pet. The aim is to make trips to South Africa a more ‘authentic’ experience.
The news comes after a review panel expressed concerns that the breeding of the large cats for these purposes could be affecting lion conservation efforts, as well as South Africa’s tourism. It’s believed there are around 8,000–10,000 captive lions in the country.
The 26-person panel produced a 600-word report detailing their thoughts on the issue, which was then put forward to Environment Minister Barbara Creecy, The Independent reports.
Creecy reportedly plans on adopting all of the panel’s suggestions, including the ending of captive breeding and keeping lions for commercial gain.
The report also called for an end to the trading of lion bones. They’re often used as hunting trophies, jewellery and ingredients for some Chinese medicines.
In the wake of the lengthy report’s presentation, Creecy said, as per EWN:
We must halt and reverse the domestication of lions through captive breeding and keeping. We don’t want captive breeding, captive hunting, captive (cubs) petting, captive use of lions.
While referring to the panel’s suggestions, she added, ‘I have requested the department to action this accordingly and ensure that the necessary consultation for implementation is conducted.’
However, Creecy stressed that she had no plans of ending the hunting of South Africa’s wild lions. She explained, ‘Preventing the hunting of captive lions is in the interests of the authentic wild hunting industry, and will boost the hunting economy and our international reputation, and the jobs that this creates.’
This may come as a shock to many, as while there are around 10,000 captive lions, there are only 3,000 wild lions in the country, The Independent reports. With this in mind, lions are classed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.
According to the organisation, some of the threats the large cats are facing range from war, civil unrest and military exercises to hunting and trapping.
Despite Creecy’s plans of continuing the hunting of wild lions, animal charity World Animal Protection has described South Africa’s plans on implementing the report’s suggestions as ‘a win for wildlife’.
The panel’s report also detailed reviews on the country’s policies on leopards, rhinos and elephants, specifically looking at stockpiles of rhino horns and elephant ivory.
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