Parliament has spoken out strongly against captive lion breeding in the country, paving the way for changes to be made to laws protecting our African lions from exploitation.
The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs recently adopted a report which calls for a ban on captive lion breeding as well as curbing the export of lion bones.
Entitled ‘Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting and Bone Trade in South Africa’, the report found that captive lion breeding held no conservation value. It further found no evidence to support the flawed, minority-held argument that the captive-bred lion industry is “a well-regulated, manageable industry that contributes way more positively to South Africa than negatively”.
The report also finds that the increase in the lion bone export quota from 800 in 2017 to 1500 in 2018 is “highly problematic”.
Wildlife organisations say the use of lion parts in commercial trade is one of the major emerging threats to wild lions and could facilitate illegal trade.
The 24-page report followed a colloquium held on 21 and 22 August of this year. It was, reportedly, the longest and best-attended Parliamentary colloquium held in recent years.
Parliament has now instructed the Department of Environmental Affairs to urgently initiate a legislative and policy review of the industry with a view to putting an end to this practice, and the minister of environmental affairs should report quarterly on progress in this regard.
Both the Centre for Environmental Rights and the Endangered Wildlife Trust have welcomed the move.
Centre for Environmental Affairs attorney, Aadila Agjee, has expressed the hope that this is just the beginning of a just and equitable system for the management of captive lions and other wild animals bred for commercial use in South Africa.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust’s CEO, Yolan Friedman, says this is a step in the right direction.
“We welcome the Committee’s resolutions and commend the Honourable Chair and Members for their close consideration of this important issue and the hard work that went into the colloquium and its outcome. The EWT has actively fought against the torrid industry of captive lion breeding, shooting, and bone trade for over a decade. We welcome this report that acknowledges the widely held stance by most South Africans, and all lion biologists and experts – that this industry is nothing but a blight on the conservation pedigree that South Africa should otherwise be able to claim.”