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Cash before conservation: The commoditization of lions in South Africa

LOUISE DE WAAL: ‘The UK-based Born Free Foundation released an alarming report titled “Cash before Conservation, an overview of the breeding of lions for hunting and bone trade” in South Africa. Will Travers OBE (President, Born Free Foundation) says “this important report documents the growth of this appalling industry and the support it seems to enjoy from senior politicians and officials within South Africa, in spite of overwhelming international condemnation”. “It also highlights links between the industry and organisations involved in the trafficking of rhino horn and other wildlife products, and with the heinous and fast-expanding trade in donkey meat and skins”, Travers continues…

According to the Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) recently released… South Africa holds a captive lion population of approximately 7,000 animals kept in around 260 breeding/captive facilities. This captive population has grown exponentially from just a few hundred in the late 1990s, to about 2,500 in 2005, and a current population of at least 7,000, but possibly more… It is considered the world’s top destination for trophy hunting of captive bred lions. Between 2003-13, SA exported 7,487 lion trophies, more than double the number exported from the rest of Africa. Interestingly, SA is also one of the few countries advocating the legal export of ivory, recently re-opened the domestic trade in rhino horn, and is the largest global exporter of live cheetahs’. SOURCE…


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