US lion import laws to cut SA hunting revenue

Johannesburg - New US restrictions on importing lion carcasses will cut revenue from hunting captive-bred lions by half, according to the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (Phasa).

South Africa received R180m from hunting about 800 captive-bred lions in 2014, Phasa president Stan Burger said.

From January 22 hunters will require import permits from the US Fish and Wildlife Service for lion trophies, Burger said. Those permits must prove that hunting in the country of origin enhances lion populations, he said.

“I don’t think South Africa will have any problems proving that,” Burger said. “But captive breeders may find it more difficult.”

Earlier this month, Phasa said it will expel members who are involved in killing captive-bred lions, a practice described by critics as canned hunting.

Burger said the organisation supports the new US rules as they will benefit wildlife.

The tighter US import restrictions come six months after an American dentist killed Cecil, a 13-year-old lion from that was a popular attraction for tourists in Zimbabwe.

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