Creecy unveils plans to end captive breeding of lions for hunting

Creecy unveils plans to end captive breeding of lions for hunting

Environment Minister Barbara Creecy on Wednesday laid out plans to phase out the captive breeding of lions for hunting as the country moves to ban the controversial business.

lion western cape ukraine
Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation

The practice of breeding big cats to later have them shot by wealthy hunters, typically paying thousands of US dollars, has long been loathed by conservation and animal rights groups.

Hunters, usually foreigners, sometimes take home the head or skin of the killed animal as a trophy.

The South African government had already announced its intention to ban the breeding of lions for hunting in 2021, and an ad hoc panel has been working on the issue for the past two years.

"The panel recommended the closure of the captive breeding sector, including the keeping of lions in captivity, or the use of captive lions or their derivatives commercially," Creecy told a press conference in Cape Town.

Breeders will have two years to voluntarily withdraw from the sector and change their business model before the ban begins.

Between 8,000 and 12,000 lions are kept on about 350 farms across South Africa, according to estimates by animal rights groups that regularly denounce the conditions in which the animals are held.

The number of wild lions in comparison totals only around 3,500, according to the Endangered Wildlife Trust, a South Africa-based NGO.

“The key recommendations of the task team were to ensure the acquisition and incineration of lion bone stockpiles contingent upon sterilisation of lions and compliance with the voluntary exit principles,” said Creecy. 

*Additional reporting by AFP 


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