South Africa: Born Free Foundation - SA Support for Lion Bones Trade Is Damaging Its Image

(file photo).

The Department of Environmental Affairs has been slammed for allowing canned lion hunting and the export of lion bones without evidence that it has any scientific or conservation value. The British NGO Born Free Foundation says that the department is supporting a small clique of breeders and the situation is providing loopholes for wildlife traffickers. By DON PINNOCK.

In a report, Cash Before Conservation, released on 19 March, Born Free says the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) persists in allowing canned hunting, trade in lion bones and sale of rhino horn while admitting its decisions are not backed by science or conservation information.

"It is alarming," says the report, "that the DEA has issued an export quota of 800 skeletons and permits for thousands of other skeletons and large quantities of bones since 2008 without having completed any of the research it has now commissioned. This also applies to the continued breeding of lions for hunting."

Born Free says the DEA also cannot demonstrate that the trade in bones from captive-bred lions will in fact protect wild lions in Africa or tigers in Asia, neither can it provide any evidence that the trade will not prejudice the survival of wild...

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