While hunting remains a controversial topic, South Africa is making leaping strides in protecting its wildlife and iconic animals such as lion.
On Sunday, 2 May 2021, Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries Barbara Creecy announced a plan to ban the breeding of lions in captivity for trophy hunting and tourists.
During her address, she released the High-Level Panel report delegated to review policies, regulatory measures, practices, and policy positions related to hunting, trade, captive keeping, management and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.
She explained, “The appointment of the Panel through the hosting in August 2018, of a Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding by the then Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs. This was attended by a range of national and international organisations who gave evidence to the Committee. According to the report of the Portfolio Committee, which Parliament later adopted, there was a predominant view that the captive lion breeding industry did not contribute to conservation and was doing damage to South Africa’s conservation and tourism reputation.”
She further enthused, “We don’t want captive breeding, captive hunting, captive (cubs) petting, captive use of lions.”
Furthermore, she stated the Portfolio Committee, therefore, requested the department, as a matter of urgency, to initiate a policy and legislative review with a view to putting an end to this practice.
Continuing, Creecy highlighted, the Panel identified the captive lion industry poses risks to the sustainability of wild lion conservation, resulting from the negative impact on ecotourism funding lion conservation and conservation more broadly. In addition, it also holds a negative effect on the authentic wild hunting industry, let alone the risk the trade in lion parts poses to stimulating poaching and the illegal trade.
The Panel recommends that South Africa does not captive breed lions, keep lions in captivity, or use captive lions or their derivatives commercially. She says, “I have requested the department to action this accordingly and ensure that the necessary consultation for implementation is conducted.”
With a tremendous focus on putting an end to breeding lions in captivity, Creecy says it is important to stress that the recommendations are not against the hunting industry. “Preventing the hunting of captive lions is in the interests of the authentic wild hunting industry, and will boost the hunting economy and our international reputation, and the jobs that this creates.”
As South Africa sees change coming its way to protect lions from being bred in captivity for hunting or for attracting tourists, what are your thoughts?
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