The South African Department Of Environmental Affairs Is Urged By Parliament To End Captive Lion Breeding For Trophy Hunting

Less than one month after being appointed the new Minister of Environmental Affairs in South Africa, Mrs. Nomvula Paula Mokonyane, has announced her crucial decision to establish a high-level panel to review policies, legislation and practices on matters of lion, elephant, leopard, and rhinoceros management, including breeding, hunting, trade, and handling.

Among one the panel’s objectives is the need to “harmonize sustainable use with strictly controlled legal international trade and monitoring.”

The Department of Environmental Affairs has for years dealt with a number of emotive and complex conservation and sustainability issues, particularly those involving iconic species,” noted a statement from the department in June. “These include elephant management, the ivory stockpile, trade in rhino horn and the emerging issue of the lion bone trade.”

As noted by Humane Society Africa, the confirmation of this panel appointment comes after then Acting Minister Derek Hanekom’s announced intent to establish this panel in response to a report tabled by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs (PPCEA), this is after a two-day Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in August, and the subsequent release of its report in November.

The report called for a policy and legislative review of captive breeding of lions for trophy hunting, and the lion bone trade with a “view of putting an end to this practice.”

“The Department is out of sync with the Resolutions of the PPCEA, the South African public, and even the trophy hunting industry in its continued propping up of the captive lion industry,” HSI-Africa’s Wildlife Director, Audrey Delsink, said in a statement. “We urge the Department to shut down this unethical industry profiting from animal cruelty, bogus medicinal tonics made from lion bones, and tourist scams.”

As previously reported by WAN, the lion bone trade is allegedly fueled by a network of underground traders in South East Asia: particularly in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and China.

As a result, it has been estimated that there are currently a mere 20,000 African free-range lions remaining, compared to 30,000 that were in existence two decades ago.

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