The possible end for Captive Lion Breeding

The possible end for Captive Lion Breeding

STATEMENT about the report on the colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding

Parliament, Monday, 12 November 2018

The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs adopted the Report of a two-day colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding. The colloquium on Captive Breeding of Lions for Hunting and Lion Bone Trade was held from 21 – 22 August 2018.

The practice of captive lion breeding both for hunting and lion bone trade has caused much uproar against South Africa’s Captive Lion Breeding Industry. Certain members of the cruel Lions Breeding Industry are now excluded by international pro-hunting organisations. Amongst these organisations are the SAFARI International, the Dallas Safari Club and the European International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had also raised concerns about captive lion breeding for hunting. 

The DEA should put an end to this practice

The Report contains voices of representatives of local pro-hunting and conservation organisations as well as international organisations.  Many spoke against the industry. The DEA should urgently initiate a policy and legislative review of Captive Lion Breeding. The Minister of DEA should submit quarterly reports to the committee on the progress of this policy and legislative review.

The committee would like the Department to reconsider the decision to increase the lion bone trade quota. It was emerging during the Colloquium that the increase to 1500 skeletons was driven by commercial considerations. This reconsideration is necessary given the huge public sentiment expressed against the increase in lion bone trade quota. The committee’s position is to protect South Africa’s esteemed conservation image, but more fundamentally the Brand South Africa. 

DOWNLOAD THE FULL REPORT, ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS, MR PHILLEMON MAPULANE.

Starving Lion at a Breeding Farm @Big Cat Conservation

 

Report-of-the-Portfolio-Committee-on-Environmental-Affairs

 

In the hope, that this day will finally mark the beginning of an end of the Lion breeding, we thank Mr Mapulane and the committee members. 

 

Captive Lion Breeding boost Poaching

 

Are wild Lions losing the fight against extinction?

Are wild Lions losing the fight against extinction?

Are wild Lions losing the fight?

Lions in South Africa are treated like livestock. They are classified as farm animals. Ca. 8.000 to 12.000 Lions live in captivity in most incredibly bad conditions. 

The Lion farmers have ONE GOAL, to make money out of their livestock. This circuit starts at the volunteer projects. Volunteers pay to be able to raise young cubs, that are taken away from their mother a few days after birth. When they are too old to be fed, the animals are exploited on Lion walks. Once they’ve grown up, the end as cannon fodder for hunts and bone sales. Sadly, lions are often traded between the breeding facilities, the volunteer projects as well as the Canned Hunting farms. 

They breed Lions to be sold as targets in Canned Hunts, where the animal is brought into a confined area, often just hours before the hunter arrives and often drugged, just to be shot by a wealthy person coming from Europe or America, recently also from Russia. 

Now the cruellest part of the Lion exploitation begins

The confined animals are easy targets for these safari loving hunting tourists. They have no chance to escape. 

R-Lee-Ermey with canned lion he shot - are wild lions losing the fight against extinction?

The hunters pay up to $5.000 for a female and up to $40.000 to shoot a male Lion. Export of trophy heads is booming. But only 10 % of the farmed Lions are destined to be hunted. And the greedy breeders have discovered a new market.

Lions head mounted to become a trophy - are wild lions losing the fight against extinction?

Lion bones are now sold to Asia. A whole lion carcass can bring up to $7.000. Nobody at the SA government cares, what bones are sent to Asia, and nobody checks if the skeletons are complete with a skull or not. So, bones from trophies and bones from bred Lions are mixed in bags and sent to Asia. 

Tiger Bone wine in Asia - are wild lions losing the fight against extinction?

Lion bones have replaced Tiger bones in Tiger Wine that is sold all over Asia. The South African Breeders claim, that they conserve the wild Lions, but all that happens is that the demand for the bones is steadily increasing. But why should the criminal syndicates that organize the bone trade buy expensive bones from breeders, while its cheap to poach wild Lions? 

Wild Lions are under enormous threat. The species has lost more than 90 % of its range in the last 100 Years. If we don’t act, the species will surely be wiped out in 2050. Please help us to avoid wild lions losing their fight against extinction!  Share and join our Facebook Group.  

Video: Courtesy of .Brut
Featured Image: Courtesy of The Guardian

How the captive Lion bone trade is killing Africas and Asias big cats

How the captive Lion bone trade is killing Africas and Asias big cats

Original Article August 2, 2018 – by John R. Platt – Article adapted for better readability
Angry headlines around the world decried the news that the Trump administration had issued trophy-import permits for 38 lions killed by 33 hunters — including many high-rolling Republican donors — between 2016 and 2018. But the captive Lion bone trade is much worse. Experts worry this booming trade could doom the big cats in the wild.

How the captive Lion bone trade is killing Africas and Asias big cats

The Lion species has experienced massive population drops over the past two decades. In 2016, the big cats got some protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Obama-era regulations still allowed some hunting. Imports of trophies were legal, as long as the host countries could prove that their hunts were sustainable. The Trump administration lifted that requirement last year and instead allowed imports on a “case-by-case basis.” Those 38 dead lions represent the Trump administration’s shift on hunting of endangered species.

A story that came out about the captive Lion bone trade around the same time was more worrying than these trophies. A leaked letter from the South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs revealed that it had nearly doubled the legal captive lion bone trade quota and it would allow the skeletons to be exported from the country. The quota went up from 800 to 1500 skeletons, a dramatic increase.

Avaaz Poster in Mall against Captive Lion Bone Trade

The captive Lion bone trade is worse

Unlike the lions that are slain by hunters, the South African bones come from the country’s 300-plus lion farms. Here, the big cats are raised — often in terrible conditions — for use in “caged hunts.” There, according to the 2015 documentary Blood Lions, foreign hunters pay as much as $50,000 to shoot semi-tame lions in small, walled-off, inescapable encampments. The heads and skins from these caged hunts become trophies. The rest of the bodies are shipped to Asia. There the bones are ground down to be used as “medicine” and as a component in wine. There is no medicinal quality in lion or tiger bones.

These factory farms are believed to contain about 8,000 to 12,000 captive-bred lions. An astonishing number compared to the fewer than 20,000 lions estimated to still live in the wild throughout Africa. South Africa itself is estimated to hold fewer than 2,000 adult wild lions.

Where does this demand for lion products come from? Experts say the increase in the lion-bone trade is a response to the decline in wild tiger populations in Asia. Tigers are also poached for “medicinal” products, although those big cats have become so rare in the wild — an estimated 3,900 animals spread across a dozen countries — that the industry has been forced to turn to other felines to feed its fortunes.

The captive Lion bone trade now feeds the Tiger Wine industry

Captive Lion bone trade is on the rise, whily hunting for trophies declines

Luke Hunter of Panthera says, “the lion never had any traditional value in China. It’s an analog to the tiger, so it seems to be acceptable there”. As more lions enter the legal bone trade, the danger to wild lions increases. A July 2017 report from the Environmental Investigation Agency said that legal trade in lion bones further threatens wild tigers and lions by stimulating demand for products made from their bodies. In traditional Asian medicine, wild products are considered more potent and valuable than farm-raised equivalents.

Interestingly enough, the farms and lion bone trade appears to also be inspiring an increase in the poaching of captive lions. Last month a report found that at least 60 captive lions in South Africa were killed by poachers since 2016.

Lion bred for the capitive lion bone trade

At least five captive tigers were also killed in South Africa

It is unclear how many tigers exist in South Africa, but the country has exported more than 200 captive-bred tigers over the past five years. About half of those cats were exported to Vietnam and Thailand, hubs of tiger-product smuggling activity.

All of this is big business and while most of it is legal, some of it may not be. Another new report, issued by two South African organizations called the EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, accused the legal lion-bone trade of shipping a much greater quantity of bones than officially reported. The two organizations used their report to call for eliminating all lion exports from South Africa. They aslo call for restricting the breeding of lions and other big cats, and investigating the finances of breeders.

What does the future hold for wild lions? A 2015 study predicted that wild lions would see another 50 percent population decline in two decades. Reasons are poaching, the bushmeat trade, retaliatory killings for predation of livestock, and habitat loss. Add legal trophy hunting and poaching inspired by the legal bone trade into the mix and that timeline may become accelerated — and lions throughout Africa could pay the price.

Original Article August 2, 2018 – by John R. Platt

The Ongoing Disgrace of South Africa’s Captive Lions

The Ongoing Disgrace of South Africa’s Captive Lions

The Ongoing Disgrace of South Africa’s Captive Lions

An estimated 7,000 to 14,000 (numbers vary) captive lions are held at over 300 Lion breeding facilities in South Africa. Increasingly, the animals are slaughtered for their bones and other body parts, many of which are sold in Asia for their purported — and scientifically discredited — health benefits.

Original article by

  1. The incident at the Lion Slaughterhouse in Bloemfontein, Free State

    Reinet Meyer is the senior inspector at the SPCA in the provincial city of Bloemfontein. She had received a tip. Two adult captive lions had been held 2 days without food or water in tiny transport crates on a farm called Wag ‘n Bietjie. She went to the farm, found the lions, and discovered that they’d been trucked about 250 miles. They came from Predators Pride, a “safari park” near Johannesburg. It keeps big cats in small enclosures so tourists can get close to them. For an extra fee, hold lion cubs or cuddle adult cheetahs while having their photos taken. 

    She then noticed a large pile of rotting, fly-covered meat outside a farm shed. Inside she found a supervisor. About eight workers stripped the skin and flesh from the fresh carcasses of 26 lions. “You could see that it wasn’t the first time they’d done this,” she says. That afternoon a truck arrived with 28 additional lions, which were to be killed the next day. Meyer insisted that the lions be released into a corral rather than be left in their transport crates overnight.

    She returned to Wag ‘n Bietjie the next morning to observe that animal welfare standards were being maintained. A veterinarian arrived at 9 a.m., drove into the newly arrived lions’ corral in a pickup truck, and darted all 28 with tranquillizers. As they lapsed into unconsciousness, he walked from one to the next. He methodically shot each in the ear with a .22-caliber rifle. “Overseas buyers don’t want a skull with a bullet in it,” he told Reinet. Which is why he didn’t shoot them directly in the cranium.

    Lion killed at Lion Slaughterhouse near Bloemfontein @ Conservationaction
    Jabula the Lion killed at Lion Slaughterhouse near Bloemfontein © Conservation Action
  2. Tiger Bone products made from Captive Lions

    These lion carcasses, as well as the ones Reinet had seen the previous day, were being processed into skeletons to be sold to wildlife product dealers in Asia. They would likely resell them as “tiger bone” to be made into a wide variety of products. Products like jewellery, “tiger-bone wine or -cake” and a dizzying array of “health tonics.” There is no mainstream scientific proof that tiger bone is of genuine medical use. On further investigation, Meyer counted 246 lions confined elsewhere on the farm, more than 100 of which were scheduled to be shot and reduced to bones.

    As grotesque as the scene at Wag ‘n Bietjie was, the farmer gave Meyer unfettered access to his property. Although he expressed some unease at killing the animals, he told Meyer that he was making good money. It was all legal; he had government permits to keep and kill lions.

    The low-tech lion slaughterhouse that Meyer had stumbled upon was part of South Africa’s large and increasingly controversial captive-bred lion industry. Not even Edna Molewa’s DEA knows how many lions this industry currently holds because it is poorly monitored. But, it’s one of the most lucrative of South Africa’s wildlife breeding sectors. It has generated generates tens of millions of dollars annually from a worldwide client base.

    Tiger Bone Wine Bottle somewhere in Asia
    Tiger Bone Wine Bottle somewhere in Asia
  3. Captive Lions History – Part I

    The industry originated in the late 1990s* to provide relatively cheap lions for foreign trophy hunters to shoot in fenced areas. (*More than 20 years ago, in 1997, the findings of  The Cook Report investigation were presented to the public by famous Roger Cook). Captive Lions (Males) were sold at between $25,000 and $40,000. Femelaes sold at half of it. But following U.S. restrictions on trophy imports from such “canned” hunts, the captive-bred lion industry is increasingly focused on supplying bones to Asia.

    Supporters of the industry, including especially the late Edna Molewa, the South African Environment Minister, promote captive lion breeding.  They define the slaughter as an example of “sustainable utilization of natural resources”. But increasingly vocal opponents, including prominent hunters, say that it is cruel, damaging to South Africa’s reputation. There is no benefit to wildlife conservation. Luke Hunter of the leading big cat conservation group Panthera says, that captive-bred lions have “unequivocally zero” conservation value.

    The debate about the industry is heating up — hunting groups have split over it. Lobbyists on both sides are ramping up their rhetoric. Now politicians are considering legislating against it. Because lions are a high-profile species and the captive-bred lion industry sells its products across the globe, South Africa’s decisions will have ripple effects through the international hunting and wildlife trades.

    Roger Cook who first uncovered the Canned Hunting Industry @ LionAid
    Roger Cook who first uncovered the Canned Hunting Industry © LionAid
  4. The circuit of abuse and exploitation

    Wild female lions only give birth every 18 months to two years, but in captivity, cubs can be are removed within days of being born.  This allows the females to produce up to four litters every two years. Lion breeders have learned to profit from every stage of a lion’s life.

    First – they extract by extracting cash and free labour from “voluntourists”.  These are often young foreigners in their school gap year and who pay well for the chance to hand-raise cubs while being told that “their” lions will later be released into the wild.

    Then – breeders charge tourists to hold cubs for photos, and when these cubs become adolescents, charge tourists again to go on “walking with lions” excursions.

    Then – adolescent lions become too large to be controlled — hand-raised lions have no fear of humans and can be extremely dangerous — they are sold to trophy hunting outfitters,

    Later – they are released into fenced areas and lion farms guarantee their clients easy, time-efficient kills, often without disclosing that the lions being shot are effectively tame.

    With its increasing size and high profile, the industry inevitably attracted scrutiny. In late 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned the import of captive-bred lion trophies, saying the industry had not proved that it benefited the long-term survival of lions in the wild. (Trophies from wild lion hunts could still be imported, however, because the agency found that trophy fees often went toward habitat conservation and anti-poaching patrols).

    Almost overnight, the industry lost more than half its hunting clients. Prices of Captive Lions plummeted. But the game wasn’t over for lion breeders.  They had an alternative market for their products — the bone trade — which they had quietly been developing since 2008.

    Canned Hunting Say No to Cub Petting
    Say No to petting of Captive Lions © Cannedlion.org
  5. Captive Lions History – Part II

    A trophy hunter normally takes just the skull and skin of the lion to a taxidermist to be mounted. The flesh and remainder of the skeleton remain with the outfitter or landowner. Prior to 2008, this was normally disposed of. In 2008, however, the first exports of lion bones — 35 skeletons — from South Africa to Southeast Asia took place. Arranged by powerful Asian syndicates that finance and commit wildlife crime in dozens of countries.

    The business grew rapidly. In 2009 and 2010, for example, 16 consignments totalling 320 lion skeletons were exported to Laos. Nine of these consignments were destined for Vixay Keosavang, a The circuit of abuse and exploitation who deals in a wide range of threatened species. (In 2013, the U.S. government The circuit of abuse and exploitation for information leading to the dismantling of his organization, the Xaysavang Network.) Early South African lion bone exporters included Marnus Steyl, a game rancher who has been implicated in The circuit of abuse and exploitation including The circuit of abuse and exploitation.

    By 2015, exports had risen to around 1,300 skeletons per year. Between 2008 and 2016, South Africa The circuit of abuse and exploitation with a total weight of more than 70 tons, almost all to Southeast Asian countries known as hubs of the illegal wildlife trade. That robust business continues today.

    Wildlife crime researchers say that Asian wildlife syndicates view lion bone as a convenient substitute for tiger bone.  There are well-established markets — albeit often black markets — across Asia. Tigers have long been listed on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) treaty. This mean means that virtually all international trade in their parts is banned.

    Captive Lions at a Breeding Farm @Big Cat Conservation
    Starving Lion at a Breeding Farm © Big Cat Conservation
  6.  How Lion Bones become Tiger Bones

    African lions have long been viewed as less threatened than tigers, and have been listed on Appendix 2. As a matter of facts, this allows international trade subject to permits. Lion bones leave South Africa legally, with CITES permits.  Once it arrives in Southeast Asia it is typically relabeled as tiger bone and smuggled to black markets. Thus, the legal product feeds illegal business. (Anti-hunting activist groups have recently identified numerous criminal participants in the South Africa-to-Southeast Asia lion bone trade.)

    In Vietnam, lion bones are likely made into “tiger-bone cake,” an expensive “traditional remedy,” with no proven medicinal properties. It is made by boiling bones along with turtle shell and other ingredients until they disintegrate. Then it is compacted into a chocolate bar-like “cake”. In China, the skeletons of big cats are often suspended in large vats of alcohol, which are tapped to produce “tiger-bone wine.”


    Read the full article  https://e360.yale.edu/features/the-ongoing-disgrace-of-south-africas-captive-bred-lion-trade