Report on captive lion breeding a step in right direction - dept

Minister Barbara Creecy orders her department to establish a process that will stop lion hunting and protectect other key species.

FILE: A lioness. Picture: Aletta Gardner/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The Environmental Affairs Department report on captive breeding of lions and other animals is being described as a step in the right direction.

A panel released its research on Sunday after reviving the management and rules governing key species such as lions, elephants, rhino and leopards here in South Africa.

The group which was appointed by the government has been reviewing the management and rules governing the hunting, trade and keeping in captivity of lions, elephants, rhino and leopards.

Minister Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy has instructed her department to start the process of ending captive lion breeding in the country.

'LEGAL LION HUNTING NOT SANCTIONED'

The department said its report on banning captive breeding of lions and other animals did not include sanctioning legal lion hunting in South Africa.

Creecy said that the authentic wild hunting industry, which generated millions of rand, was being negatively impacted by captive breeders.

The Blood Lion Campaign said that about 10,000 predators were being held captive in small enclosures in more than 300 facilities across the country in deplorable conditions.

The organisation rejected claims from private farmers that they were conserving, saying that captive breeding had nothing to do with conservation.

Blood Lion's Louise De Waal said that many of the animals, especially lions, were being used in exploitative tourism activities.

"South Africa was breeding lions and other iconic species in captivity purely to be shot and to be killed for their bones and as much money along the way," said de Waal.

South Africa has been criticised by animal rights groups globally for failing to ban the breeding of animals in captivity. Department spokesperson Albie Modise said hunters should conduct the practice in a decent manner.

"We want to bring integrity into hunting because it's an economic money spinner in the country," Modise said.

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