The South African government has reportedly announced that it is in the process of officially banning the breeding and hunting of lions in captivity. This comes after findings from a task team that reviewed the management of the hunting trade that includes lions, elephants, rhinos and cheetahs. The ban, however, is not aimed at ending trophy hunting but rather seeks to halt tourists’ interaction with captive lions.
Barbra Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, said the task team recommended that activities such as the petting of lion cubs, captive hunting and the personal use of lions should be immediately halted. The decision has been met with conflicting responses, while animal activists are rejoicing. South Africa stands to lose out on millions from the controversial captive breeding industry.
According to IOL, Creecy further explained that the purpose of the ban was to protect South Africa’s tourism industry, which was currently battling negative perceptions.
“The intention here is to ensure that those who are interested in… authentic wildlife hunting will have such an experience and “will not be hunting animals that have been taken out of the cage…”
Lions bred in captivity reportedly experience a lot of distress as they are out of their natural habitat, and sometimes live in deplorable conditions. Wildlife groups estimate that there are 8000 to 12 000 lions in 350 farms, in contrast to 3500 in the wild. The global animal charity World Animal Protection describes the government’s decision as “courageous”. The ban is yet to be formulated into legislation.