Tue, 11 Dec 2018
22
Johannesburg

The parliamentary Committee on Environmental Affairs on Monday adopted a report compiled during a two-day colloquium on captive breeding and the hunting of lions for bones.

The report contains the views of representatives of local pro-hunting and conservation organisations as well as those of international organisations who spoke against the industry.

The colloquium, titled "Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa", was held over two days in August and was open to the public.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), among others, raised concerns about captive lion breeding for hunting, calling on government to terminate this practice.

Chairperson of the committee Philemon Mapulane said the Department of Environmental Affairs should, as a matter of urgency, initiate a policy and legislative review of captive breeding of lions and lion bone trade.

"[They must do this] with a view of putting an end to this practice. The minister of environmental affairs should submit quarterly reports to the committee on the progress of this policy and legislative review."

Protecting 'brand South Africa'

Mapulane said the committee would like the department to reconsider the decision to increase the yearly lion bone trade quota from 800 to 1 500 lion skeletons.

"A decision emerged during the colloquium [and] was informed by commercial considerations, as opposed to science."

Mapulane said the reconsideration was necessary given the huge public sentiment expressed against the increase in the quota.

"The committee's position is to protect South Africa's esteemed conservation image, but more fundamentally the brand South Africa."

Experts conservatively estimate around 8 000 African lions are kept on farms and breeding facilities in South Africa, but considering the unnaturally high breeding rate to produce more cubs, for petting, it is likely that the figure is closer to 12 000 today. The South African Predator Association even suspects the figure to be as high as 14 000.

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