Picture: AP African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The National Council of SPCAs South Africa (NSPCA) has welcomed the move by the the Environmental Parliamentary Committee for a policy and legislative review of Captive Breeding for Hunting and Lion Bone Trade. The announcement was made this week, along with a report tabled in Parliament - for the approval in the National House of Assembly

Mohlopi Philemon Mapulane, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, in the report, said 

“It seems as if South Africa’s conservation reputation is being compromised by this practice which does not seem to benefit broader conservation but a small number of breeders without proper scientific or conservation basis. Another bone of contention is the breeding of lions for the lion bone trade," noted chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, Mohlopi Mapulane.

NSPCA Wildlife Trade and Trafficking officer, Karen Trendler, said growing local and international opposition to the captive breeding of lion for hunting and bone trade, resulted in the expulsion of South African hunting organisations from international conservation groups and calls to stop the captive breeding of lion went unheeded by South Africa. 

" A 2 day Parliamentary Colloquium, in which the NSPCA participated, was called to interrogate the industry. The NSPCA has, for many years, been concerned about and involved in addressing the welfare and conservation problems associated with the captive breeding of lion for hunting, cub petting, paying volunteers and lion walks. After being pulled from their mothers, the cubs are used and abused for tourism and, when too big, are hunted or slaughtered for lion bone. The lion bone is exported to Asia as a supplement for tiger bone in wines, tonic, traditional medicine and ornaments. There are currently about 8000 – 10000 lions in captivity," she said. 

Trendler said in September 2018, the NSPCAs lodged an urgent interdict against the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to suspend the DEA’s authorisation of lion bone exports.

Following decisions taken at CITES CoP17, the Minister of Environmental Affairs established an export quota of 800 skeletons for 2017. The NSPCA requested a judicial review of the quota and with the review process still grinding through the Courts, the DEA announced a 1,500 quota for 2018.

“A legislative and policy review of the captive breeding of lion is long overdue.The captive breeding of lion is a brutal industry with no conservation value. The trade in lion bone could increase global demand putting not only wild African lion populations, but also tiger and other big cat populations at risk," she said. 

The Mercury