Following a two-year campaign, the South African government has announced their backing of a new recommendation to ban captive lion breeding for the purposes of tourism and tourist activities, which include cub petting and canned hunting.
The proposal is the result of an in-depth investigation that set out to explore whether the industry holds any value, or whether it in fact damages the image of South Africa.
The report concludes that captive lion breeding should be halted, and that domestication of lions in captivity for the purposes of breeding and keeping should be reversed.
Posting on their Instagram page, The Kevin Richardson Foundation noted that the move will likely receive backlash from those whose livlihoods will be impacted by the decision (just as similar challenges have encountered previously) and that the report findings will likely take a considerable amount of time to implement, but that the recommendation is still significant and exciting.
Since the 1980s, the population of African lions has dropped from 100,000 individuals to 20,000. And whilst the wild numbers of lions are decreasing, the number of captive-bred lions used for canned hunts has only increased.
According to the organisation Blood Lions, who campaign against canned hunting, there are approximately 200 breeding facilities in South Africa alone, and statistics indicate that anywhere between 800 and 1,000 lions were being shot annually in South Africa for sport. It is also estimated that 1,000 lions are killed every year for the bone trade, yet medicinal claims behind those seeking out lion bones are unfounded.
You can download the Blood Lions documentary in several countries across the globe – find your link here!