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SA under pressure to rethink policy on canned lion hunting

Activists and experts have spoken out against the practice at Parliament, warning that it has links to illegal trade in wildlife.

Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - South Africa is coming under mounting pressure to rethink its policy that allows for captive-bred lion hunting and trade in lion body parts.

Activists and experts have spoken out against the practice at Parliament, warning that it has links to illegal trade in wildlife, is damaging South Africa’s image and could deter tourists from visiting the country.

The Environmental Affairs oversight committee is hosting a two-day colloquium on the issue.

South Africa is one of world’s top destinations for hunters wanting to shoot captive-bred lions and the world’s largest exporter of lion bones and skeletons.

This has also put the country at the centre of a storm of criticism over a practice, which the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has acknowledged is mostly about making money rather than conservation.

Dr Mark Jones of the Born Free Foundation in the United Kingdom has shared his concerns.

“It’s unclear why the DEA would choose to support the business interests of a small group of people driven by the desire to make profit from lions and their body parts at the expense of good conservation practice and in the face of overwhelming international criticism.”

Jones says international tourist organisations are beginning to take note, posing a potential threat to tourist numbers to South Africa.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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