4 July 2017

South Africa: Environmental Affairs Department Approves Export of 800 Lion Skeletons

The department of environmental affairs (DEA) has announced it has agreed to export 800 lion skeletons to Asia this year.

Conservation groups, as well as the international organisations, are outraged by the decision.

The DEA made the decision was made last Wednesday June 28.

Government has argued that the absence of this trade could lead to an increased demand on the black market.

Over the past two decades, the number of free-range lions has critically declined from 30 000 to 20 000.

The illegal bone market is said to be a contributing factor.

'Immoral stand'

According to the DEA, only the bones of lions bred in captivity will be sold to Asia.

According to the Convention in the Trade of Endangered Species (Cites) this application is not illegal if it is not "detrimental to the survival of the species" for animals classified in Appendix II, where the lions in SA are listed.

But some have demanded that this clause be excluded.

Fiona Miles, the director of the SA non-profit organisation 4Paws, indicates that because exports were increasing she did not believe "poaching will decrease".

She said it was currently "the other way around".

Michele Pickover, director of the EMS foundation, a public benefit organisation, said: "This decision is an immoral stand. The government admitted they should have done more researches on lion's situation before agreeing to this huge amount of skeletons.

"Some lions offered for shooting are just killed to use the skeleton. This use is not saving lions. It is outrageous and SA government should stop supporting this industry."

Source: News24

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