Saturday, May 25, 2024

South Africa’s lion farming cruel, linked to international criminals: World Animal Protection

While the skins, paws and skulls are handed over to the canned hunters as prized trophies, the skeletons are left to dry in the sun, packaged and sold to Asian buyers.

• August 14, 2023
World Animal Protection and Lions
World Animal Protection and Lions

The World Animal Protection has disclosed the harsh and cruel method of South Africa’s lion farming which has been linked to the increase in the illegal trading of lion bones to international criminals.

A report released Monday by the rights group urged the South African government to uphold its 2021 decision to cease the cruel commercial captive lion industry’s operation to ensure wildlife heritage and fish out illegal trade.

The 2021 decision noted South Africa’s intention to halt the domestication and exploitation of lions immediately and ultimately close all captive lion facilities in South Africa. However, the government backtracked its decision in late 2022, instructing a ministerial task team to develop and implement a voluntary exit strategy and pathways for captive lion facilities.

The inability of the South African government to stand by its decision has enabled some farms to disguise themselves as legitimate captive lion breeding and ‘canned’ trophy hunting businesses but are supplying the illegal international big cat bone trade facilitated by organised crime gangs. 

While the skins, paws and skulls are handed over to the canned hunters as prized trophies, the skeletons are left to dry in the sun, packaged and sold to “Asian buyers who regularly visit” the off-grid breeding farms.

Neil D’Cruze, the rights group’s global head of wildlife research, stated, “Even as experienced researchers, we were deeply disturbed by the cruel practices taking place. It is sickening to see these majestic mammals reduced to mere commodities kept in merciless conditions.”

Mr D’Cruze added, “This new intelligence gathered by brave sources confirms what was previously suspected – these well-established legal operations are plugged secretly into unethical practices and an illicit international trade network.”

He explained that a voluntary “phase out of the industry alone” would not be enough to halt the commercial exploitation of captive lions in South Africa. 

“We now know some off-grid lion farms go to great lengths to avoid detection. Facilities use various tactics like security cameras, patrols and messaging apps to avoid detection during inspections to conceal illegal activities,” said Mr D’Cruze.

Also, Louise de Waal, the director and campaign manager of Blood Lions, said, “We urge the South African government to make good on their 2021 decision and bring a mandatory time-bound end to the commercial captive lion industry, which will make detecting and preventing the illegal trade easier at the same time. Only then our reputation as a leader in conservation be restored, and the welfare of the country’s captive lions and other big cats ensured.” 

We have recently deactivated our website's comment provider in favour of other channels of distribution and commentary. We encourage you to join the conversation on our stories via our Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages.

More from Peoples Gazette

Katsina State

Politics

Katsina youths pledge to deliver over 2 million votes to Atiku

“Katsina State is Atiku’s political base because it is his second home.”

Sport

Hansi Flick favourite to takeover Barcelona job following Xavi’s dismissal

He has been out of job since he was sacked as the manager of the German national team in 2023.

Rainstorm

States

Plateau lawmaker solicits support for rainstorm victims

Residential houses and a church were affected by the rainstorm.

President Bola Tinubu

Politics

Nigeria no longer printing money, deceiving itself under my watch: Tinubu

“Nigeria went through terrible labour pains, but we have seen the baby coming out alive,” the President concluded.

Nigerian policemen at a checkpoint

States

Imo CP condemns alleged corruption within Nigerian police

According to him, Nigerians are no longer satisfied with the overall conduct and character of policemen in the country.

Rivers Governor Siminalayi Fubara

Port Harcourt

Gov. Fubara flags off N6.7 billion Okania-Ogbogoro road project

The governor said it would be completed and inaugurated in the next five months.