SA farmers allegedly involved in lion, cheetah smuggling

2013-05-27 09:18

South African lion breeders are allegedly part of an illegal network that smuggles lion and cheetah cubs from Botswana to stock local farms.

The Times reported today that at least five South African lion farmers were mentioned in an investigation into cases where cubs were smuggled to lion farms in South Africa to cater for the international trophy-hunting market.

“I don’t want to say lion breeders as a whole are involved, but there are definitely five or six people that I know of,” conservationist Sarel van der Merwe told the newspaper.

“The guys in the Problem Animal Control Group (a government body that deals with ‘problem’ predators in Botswana) all have cellphones. Instead of reporting problem animals to their superiors, they call farmers in South Africa.”

If the problem animal was a lioness, she would be shot and her cubs smuggled out.

According to the report, Hawks spokesperson Paul Ramaloko could not confirm any investigations into cross-border animal smuggling.

The Times reported that canned hunting (trophy hunting of animals in an enclosed area) was banned in South Africa in 2007.

The SA Predator Association appealed against the ban and won the case in the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2011.

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