This is an excerpt from an article written by Pearly Magubane and published online by SABCNews on 29 August, 2020.
The Tourism Business Council of South Africa has welcomed the opening of domestic tourism.
The following story contains graphic description, which may upset sensitive readers, including children.
The World Animal Protection (WAP) has called for the total ban in the export of lion parts.
Treeshake founder Dave Duarte leads the South African WAP campaign and says the lions spend time in confinement, until they are ready to be killed for their bones. These bones are then shipped abroad for use in traditional medicine in Asia.
WAP says every day thousands of wild animals are poached, farmed or sold into the global multi-billion dollar trade. These wild animals are being traded for food, pets, traditional medicine and entertainment.
Duarte says in 2019 there were around 8 000 lions in captivity in South Africa.
“To put this number in perspective, throughout the whole of Africa, there are only around 20 000 lions left in the wild; so almost half of all lions are in captivity. If people want to stop this, we need to call for a total ban in the export of the lion parts. South Africa currently allows for quotas where certain amounts of bones can be exported illegally. But this sends an unclear message to the market. It doesn’t communicate that this is wrong and it’s unethical, this is pillaging Africa’s heritage.”
Locally, South Africa contributes to the wildlife trade by rearing lions for their bones. The bones are then legally sold to South East Asia to supplement the tiger bone industry. The bones have been known to sometimes be taken while the animal is still alive in order to ensure those harvested are pink in hue.