The Drakenstein Lion Park is one of only two real sanctuaries in the Western Cape (and only a hand full in South Africa!). It was established by Paul Hart in 1998. The park provides lions in distress a safe location, where they could live in safety. Where they can roam free from abuse and persecution, and be treated with the compassion and respect they deserved.
When we posted on our Facebook group, that the Drakenstein Lion Park was looking for donations for a fence upgrade, Wellington Lions Club member Benny Smith and his company Kraaifontein Construction & Fencing immediately jumped into action. He could arrange the necessary razor wire at an incredibly discounted suppliers quote. This brought the cost for the fencing down from R 65.000 to R 32.000. Kraaifontein Construction & Fencing also installed the razor wire free of charge, donating the manpower costs to the park.
Saving one animal won’t change the world, but for that animal, the world changes completely!
For 20 years, many Lions found a new safe home at the Drakenstein Lion Park in the Western Cape. But sadly captive Lions lives aren’t secure any more in South Africa to make sure, something similar doesn’t happen to them! These Lions have been gone through so much to finally arrive here in safety! The Lions cannot be sent to Game Reserves. Because they are human imprinted they cannot be rehabilitated and released to the wild. Cubs are taken from their mothers so that she can produce another litter soon and that volunteer can bottle-feed them. Cubs are being pawed, picked up and being posed all day long, day after day. Lions are abused in circuses and roadside shows. Captive Lions cannot be part of breeding programmes that will save lions from extinction.
But, they can spend the rest of their lives peacefully and secure at the Drakenstein Lion Park!
Africa’s lions are facing a new threat from Asia – the lion bone trade. The end for the Lion King. And it appears that South Africa’s captive lion breeding industry may be supplying lion bones and could ultimately fuel demand. We investigate the newest wildlife commodity – one which could compromise Africa’s wild lion populations forever.
Africa’s lions are in trouble. The species has declined tremendously over the past 45 – 50 years on the continent. Numbers are dropping from almost half a million to between an estimated 20 000 individuals in sub-Saharan Africa. According to UK-based NGO Panthera, lions have vanished from 90% of their historic range. There are now a mere seven African countries believed to hold more than 1 000 lions.
The report might be from 2012, but it contains the complete history how the captive Lion market developed and how the breeding farms gained momentum.
Africa’s lions are in trouble
But another, new threat faces Africa’s lions that may indicate the end of the Lion King. As with the rhino, this is fuelled by the burgeoning Asian demand for wildlife products – in this case, lion bones. South Africa appears to be at the centre of this new trade. CITES records and statistics released in 2011 by the South African DEA indicate that trade in lion bones began in 2009. In 2009 lion carcasses were first recorded as having been exported to Laos. According to a March 2011 blog by the Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH), 92 lion carcasses were exported to Laos in 2009. This jumped to 235 carcasses in 2010, representing an increase of 150%. This constitutes a significant injection into the Asian trade in wild cat parts and derivatives. That is likely to increase demand for lion parts. Not just those from captive-bred sources in South Africa but from all sources throughout the rest of Africa too. Indeed the leap is strongly indicative evidence that this perceived/potential increase in demand is already well underway.
Last year, the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary welcomed 33 new lions to its arid expanse in northern South Africa. The arrivals, all former circus performers in Peru and Colombia, had been flown across the globe to live out their lives in a habitat foreign to them but natural to their species. Among them were Jose and Liso, two middle-aged cats that were given a shared enclosure because they seemed to adore each other.
The pair’s refuge was short-lived. Last week, poachers breached fences and evaded armed guards, then fatally poisoned Jose and Liso, skinned them and removed their heads, tails and paws.