Canned lion hunting and the subsequent captive lion breeding across South Africa, believed to fuel the notorious industr, has for a number of years been a blemish on Brand SA's safari and wildlife appeal.
But the most recent development from the Parliamentary Colloquium tasked with addressing the issue could see an end to the industry all together.
In a report entitled "Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country", the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment Affairs has called for a ban on captive lion breeding.
The committee wants an audit of captive lion breeding farms across the country and for laws that legally allow the practice, as well as the export of lion bones, to be revised.
The colloquium was attended by Blood Lions together with a number of leading conservation groups and scientists from across the globe.
The report found that there was "zero conservation value" in captive lion breeding, and that it instead "undermines South Africa’s tourism brand value". Added to that studies show there has "not been a successful lion reintroduction programme with lions bred in captivity in the South African case".
It calls SA's captive lion breeding industry for hunting is an "international pariah" call for a rethink on the DEA's doubling of the lion bone expert quota from 800 in 2017 to 1500 for 2018, calling it "highly concerning".
"Captive lion breeding for hunting is currently lawful, but this does not make it ethically, morally or socially acceptable, especially when the manner in which hunted animals are raised and released for hunting. It is obvious in this instance that hunting of captive-bred lions might have done irreparable damage to the reputation of South Africa, especially considering the negative global publicity,” the report states.
"The use of lion bones, body parts and derivatives in commercial trade, including for scientifically unproven medicine, is one of the major emerging threats to wild lion, besides habitat loss, diminishing prey and human wildlife conflict, and could serve as a cover for illegally wild-sourced lion and other big cat parts.”
Blood Lions issued a statement following the landmark call, commending Honourable Mohlopi Philemon Mapulane and members of the Portfolio Committee on Environment on the findings and resolutions of this comprehensive 24-page report.
"There is little doubt that the captive lion breeding industry has attracted extensive international criticism, and that it has had a deleterious impact on South Africa’s conservation and tourism reputation. This is an important day for Blood Lions and all those who have been fighting against the captive lion breeding industry in South Africa."
The Blood Lions feature documentary film and global campaign to end all exploitative predator practices, launched in 2015 has been instrumental in raising awareness around the matter.
It will be hosting a special live segment on Facebook on 15 November 2018 at noon, to discuss the following key Proposed Resolutions summary as put forward in the report by The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs -click here to join in.
1) Department of Environmental Affairs to urgently initiate a policy and legislative review of the Captive Breeding of lions for hunting and the lion bone trade with a view to putting an end to this practice.
2) Department of Environmental Affairs to conduct an audit of the captive lion breeding facilities throughout the country, including those offering private lion and cheetah cub petting and/or walking activities.
3) Department of Environmental Affairs and Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries to present a clear programme of work on how they intend to address the badly neglected animal welfare and health issues which were raised during the colloquium.
4) The agreement between the Kruger National Park and Association of Private Nature Reserves (APNR) concluded in 1996, should be revised to ensure that there is sharing of benefits, arising from the collapse of the fences in the western boundary of the Kruger National Park in the interest of the broader society.
5) The Department of Environmental Affairs should reconsider their decision earlier this year to increase the lion bone trade quota from 800 to 1 500 lion skeletons, as it was purportedly based on the Interim Report of the Scientific Authority, which report it emerged during the colloquium, was informed by commercial considerations, as opposed to science.