SUPPORT Keeping it wild

The SATSA Decision Making Tool gives people six questions to guide them into making the right decision about whether or not to support a facility that is caring for captive wildlife.

The tool interrogates issues such as:

  1. Where did the animals come from?
  2. What happens to the animals whilst in captivity?
  3. What is the likely destiny of the animals?

The safest way to ensure your wildlife activity is ethical is to keep it wild.

Rather experience lions and other iconic species in their natural habitat by choosing to visit one of the many reserves and national parks that South Africa has to offer.

#ThinkBeforeYouGo

AVOID Riding of wild animals

#ThinkBeforeYouGo: For any wild animal, having a human ride or sit on it’s back, is contrary to their natural behaviour and would not be in the best interests of the animal.

Even though elephants, for example, are strong animals, they are not designed to carry weight on their backs, which can cause injury to their spine.

Why avoid riding of wild animals?

  1. There is unnecessary hands-on training and handling involved
  2. The animals don’t have freedom of choice
  3. The animals are forced to exhibit unnatural behaviour
  4. It serves no educational value
  5. It serves no conservation value

In many cases the animal would need to be trained to accept humans on their backs. These training techniques frequently involve negative reinforcement and even cruel methods that are often harmful to the animal.

#ThinkBeforeYouGo

AVOID Tactile interactions with predators and cetaceans

#ThinkBeforeYouGo: Predators are dangerous animals that can inflict serious injury to humans, especially during stressful and unnatural activities that put them in close proximity to humans.

Why avoid tactile interactions with predators and cetaceans?

  1. It can be dangerous for humans
  2. There is unnecessary hands-on training and handling involved
  3. The animals don’t have freedom of choice
  4. The animals are forced to exhibit unnatural behaviour
  5. It serves no educational value
  6. It serves no conservation value

It is unnatural and unethical for predators and cetaceans to interact with humans and these activities can be extremely stressful for these animals.

In addition, the training and handling techniques frequently used can be harmful and indicate that these types of interactions are not in the best interest of the animals.

#ThinkBeforeYouGo

AVOID Walking with predators or elephants

#ThinkBeforeYouGo: The training and handling techniques used to train wild animals to walk alongside humans are frequently harmful to the animals involved.

Why avoid walking with predators or elephants?

  1. The animals don’t have freedom of choice
  2. There is unnecessary hands-on training and handling involved
  3. The animals are forced to exhibit unnatural behaviour
  4. It serves no educational value
  5. It serves no conservation value

If you are considering walking with wild animals such as elephants, lions and cheetahs – don’t.

It is an unnatural activity for these animals and many are forced to go through intense and often cruel training to learn to behave around paying tourists and volunteers.

#ThinkBeforeYouGo

Calls for a ‘New deal for people and Wildlife’ in open letter to minister

This is an excerpt from an article written by David Henning and published online by Getaway on 15 October, 2021

Blood Lions, along with other animal rights partner organisations, have sent out an open letter, along with a petition signed by more than 75 000 people, urging Minister of Environmental Affairs, Barbara Creecy, to plan for a ‘New Deal for People and WIldlife.’ The full press release is below.

‘Dear Honourable Minister Creecy and Dr Naicker,

NEW DEAL FOR PEOPLE AND WILDLIFE

As global citizens concerned about the fate of South Africa’s biodiversity and iconic wildlife, we write in support of your transformational draft Policy Position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros and call on you to set ambitious and urgent time frames:

  • To immediately halt the domestication and exploitation of lions, as well as implement the closure of captive lion facilities with due consideration for the welfare of the animals affected.
  • To reverse the domestication and intensification of management of rhino.
  • To prohibit ivory and rhino horn trade under current conditions
  • To restrict ex-situ live export of the iconic species.
  • To implement an increased wildness, naturalness and wellbeing of fauna focus.
  • To adopt the One Welfare approach.
  • To embrace a transformative African approach to conservation and ecologically sustainable use, consistent with Ubuntu.

These progressive and ambitious goals are supported not only by Humane Society International, World Animal Protection, Born Free Foundation, Blood Lions, and FOUR PAWS, but also by 75,504 global citizens, including at least 9,011 South African voices, who recognise that these goals are required to ensure a vibrant, inclusive transformation of the wildlife sector, rural socio-economic development and the safeguarding of our iconic species.


Nature, not humanity, is the source of life, and the purpose of conservation is to serve Nature

This is an excerpt from an Open Letter written by Jay Naidoo and published online by Daily Maverick on 14 October, 2021

A response to a call by Environment Minister Barbara Creecy for public comment on her draft policy for the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephants, lions, leopards and rhinos.

‘Dear Minister Creecy,

Something very important is happening in our country. And it relates to our Constitution, which guarantees all South Africans a constitutional right to “ecologically sustainable development”. 

That word “ecological” is everything.

Having had the responsibility for South Africa’s Reconstruction and Development Programme as a minister in Nelson Mandela’s Cabinet, I speak from experience in appreciating that all development is ultimately unsustainable if it is not ecologically sustainable.

The new environmental position presented by you, Minister Creecy, is a lynchpin in turning around how we should look at economic development going into the future. I applaud the policy position that: “Communities living with wildlife are placed at the centre of our thinking, with a focus on enhancing human-wildlife coexistence.” 

That is where your policy holds the key, Honourable Minister.


Over 75,000 Global Citizens Urge South African Minister to Finalise Plans for New People and Wildlife Deal

This is an excerpt from an article written and published online by SA People News on 14 October, 2021

A weighty 75,504 global citizens (including at least 9,011 voices from South Africa) are calling on Minister Barbara Creecy and her Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to implement the New Deal for People and Wildlife, as outlined in the draft Policy Position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros, without further delay.

On 2 May 2021, Minister Creecy announced her proposal to adopt the vision outlined in the High-Level Panel’s report and its associated goals and recommendations, including the courageous step towards bringing an end to the commercial captive lion industry in South Africa.

In a submission to an extended call for comments on the draft Policy Position document, thousands of South Africans, voices from the African continent and beyond expressed their collective concern about the fate of South Africa’s biodiversity and iconic wildlife, and their support for the visionary draft Policy Position that seeks to redefine South Africa’s relationship with its wildlife.

The public are now asking the Minister to follow through on her promises and set ambitious and urgent time frames for the forward-looking goals outlined in the policy document, including:

  • To immediately halt the domestication and exploitation of lion, and the closure of captive lion facilities.
  • To reverse the domestication and intensification of management of rhino.
  • To prohibit ivory and rhino horn trade under current conditions.
  • To restrict ex situ live export of the iconic species.
  • To implement an increased wildness, naturalness and wellbeing of fauna focus.
  • To adopt the One Welfare approach.
  • To embrace a transformative African approach to conservation and ecologically sustainable use, consistent with Ubuntu.

PRESS RELEASE: 75,504 global citizens urge Minister Creecy to finalise plans for a New Deal for People and Wildlife

14 October 2021

A weighty 75,504 global citizens (including at least 9,011 voices from South Africa) are calling on Minister Barbara Creecy and her Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) to implement the New Deal for People and Wildlife, as outlined in the draft Policy Position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros, without further delay.

On 2 May 2021, Minister Creecy announced her proposal to adopt the vision outlined in the High-Level Panel’s report and its associated goals and recommendations, including the courageous step towards bringing an end to the commercial captive lion industry in South Africa.

In a submission to an extended call for comments on the draft Policy Position document, thousands of South Africans, voices from the African continent and beyond expressed their collective concern about the fate of South Africa’s biodiversity and iconic wildlife, and their support for the visionary draft Policy Position that seeks to redefine South Africa’s relationship with its wildlife.

The public are now asking the Minister to follow through on her promises and set ambitious and urgent time frames for the forward-looking goals outlined in the policy document, including:

  • To immediately halt the domestication and exploitation of lion, and the closure of captive lion facilities.
  • To reverse the domestication and intensification of management of rhino.
  • To prohibit ivory and rhino horn trade under current conditions.
  • To restrict ex situ live export of the iconic species.
  • To implement an increased wildness, naturalness and wellbeing of fauna focus.
  • To adopt the One Welfare approach.
  • To embrace a transformative African approach to conservation and ecologically sustainable use, consistent with Ubuntu.

These progressive and ambitious goals proposed by the Minister and DFFE are supported by many organisations, including Blood Lions, Humane Society International – Africa, World Animal Protection, Born Free Foundation, and FOUR PAWS South Africa. These five animal welfare organisations commend the Minister for such a progressive conservation policy and urge her to finalise the policy in order to implement the proposed changes.

These shifts in policy will not only signify a New Deal for people and wildlife, but also position South Africa as a global conservation leader and destination of choice for nature-based tourism, a key future driver of our economy and rural socio-economic development.

The draft Policy Position on the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros was developed after a year-long consultation process by the High-Level Panel, established by the Minister, and their recommendations in a 600-page Ministerial report.

The finalisation of the draft Policy Position document is vital to put the necessary processes in place to achieve this new vision and goals in the interest of South Africa, all of her people and its wildlife.

Petition links: Change.org and Care2 Petitions


Quotes from organisations involved:


Dr Louise de Waal, Campaign Manager & Director, Blood Lions
“The Blood Lions film and global campaign was launched in 2015 and has worked tirelessly to end this cruel and unethical industry and its spin-off activities. We commend the Minister in her decisive leadership to bringing an end to the commercial captive lion breeding industry. However, the welfare of the predators involved in this exploitative industry hangs in the balance and thus swift and adequate action from DFFE and the Minister is required to start implementing a responsible phase out process. In this process, we hope that the Minister will afford all other indigenous and exotic big cats the same fate as she promised for our captive lions.”


Dr Audrey Delsink, Wildlife Director, HSI-Africa
“Tens of thousands of people locally and internationally support our call on Minister Creecy to act now. With One Welfare and wellbeing at the core of this transformative environmental policy, an end to intensive management and the exploitative use of animals may materialise. We urge the Minister to act swiftly to prevent further unnecessary cruelty during the implementation process, particularly for captive bred lions, who cannot remain in limbo during this interim stage towards reform. We stand ready to support the minister and her department during this critical process.”


Fiona Miles, Director, FOUR PAWS South Africa
“FOUR PAWS in South Africa is in full support of the Government’s decision to undertake the progressive resolutions set out within its Draft Policy Paper on the management of five of the country’s iconic wildlife species. We believe the decision to end the captive lion breeding industry is truly pivotal and will change the future of the tens of thousands of lions that are currently being exploited. It is estimated up to 12,000 lions currently suffer across the country, where they are used for tourism purposes, such as bottle feeding, cub petting, walk with activities, trophy hunting and finally, their bones used in international wildlife trade markets. The end of this industry is something FOUR PAWS has been campaigning towards for 15 years and we are at Minister Creecy and her Department’s disposal, to ensure the decisions are implemented efficiently and effectively. We urge the Government to take the necessary action swiftly, in order to prevent further suffering.”


Edith Kabesiime, Wildlife Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection Africa
“World Animal Protection and Blood Lions together with many other stakeholders in the animal welfare and conservation sectors made a wealth of compelling science-based evidence available to the High-Level Panel in written and oral submissions in 2020. World Animal Protection continues to applaud Minister Barbara Creecy for her leadership and the bold steps so far taken, as part of the process to close down the commercial captive
lion breeding industry. We would like to assure the Minister and DFFE that World Animal Protection remains committed and is ready to offer expertise to find practical solutions on how to phase out this industry completely. We should not allow the few individuals profiting from this cruel industry to win. Wild animals have a right to a wild life.”


Dr Mark Jones, Head of Policy, Born Free Foundation
“Since our inception we have sought to highlight the devastating consequences of the exploitation of wild animals for trade, hunting and other destructive purposes. We have also advocated for many years for an end to the commercial lion breeding industry in South Africa, which currently exploits thousands of lions and other captive-bred predators for tourism activities such as cub petting and walking with lions, canned hunting, and the sale of bones and other products into international markets. The progressive reforms proposed by Minister Creecy have the potential to transform South Africa’s relationship with wild animals, and place it at the forefront of regional and international wildlife protection efforts for the good of all. It is vital that they are implemented in full and without delay. We stand ready to work with the South African authorities and other stakeholders to ensure that the reforms are successfully implemented and the objectives achieved, with full regard for animal welfare, and for the benefit of wildlife and wider biodiversity, as well as for the people of South Africa.”


30 Lions Euthanised After Burning in Free State Fires in Shocking Animal Cruelty Case

This is an excerpt from an article written and published online by SA People News on 03 October, 2021

Thirty captive lions on a private breeding farm in the Free State, South Africa, have had to be euthanised after the farm owner apparently left them suffering for days after wildfires had ravaged the area. Details issued by the Bloemfontein SPCA of the scene they discovered in the Glen/Brandfort district are harrowing and heartbreaking.

Unable to escape the blazing flames, the lions must have endured unimaginable pain and fear. The SPCA said it’s one of the worst things to happen to an animal and that this is one of the worst cases of animal cruelty they have ever witnessed.

The Bloemfontein SPCA was at the forefront during the recent wildfires to assist farmers with relieving horrifically injured animals from any further suffering. For days after the fires, the SPCA searched the area for injured animals.

It was whilst on-site at farms in the Glen district – where grazing and land were destroyed – that the SPCA came across the captive, breeding lion farm. Their suspicions were raised by the owner’s refusal to allow them to enter his land, even though blazing flames had “destroyed most of the farmland… especially the enclosures where the lions were kept”.

In a newsletter on Sunday evening, the SPCA alleged: “The owner knew the lions got injured by the fires. For 5 days they didn’t administer any medical treatment. We had no option, but to obtain a warrant to enter the property.

*WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES*


Crèche children ‘terrified’ of tigers next door, but it seems no laws broken

This is an excerpt from an article written by Naledi Shange and published online by TimesLIVE on 01 October, 2021

Teachers at a daycare centre in Boksburg were shocked last week when, during outside playtime, they looked up and saw a white tiger watching them.

The tiger is neighbour’s pet and was seated on a jungle gym overlooking the crèche. Since then, playtime on that side of the crèche grounds has been stopped.

Speaking to TimesLIVE on Wednesday, the crèche owner — who asked for her name and that of the school to be withheld — said they had since learnt their neighbour had acquired two large white tigers. She has taken several pictures of the tigers from her premises.

Since spotting the animals, the crèche owners have had to cage in the children out of fear the tigers could jump over the fence.

“That fence is not high enough and the tigers will jump. If they don’t jump into our school, they will jump into our other neighbour’s house and, just across the road, there is an old age home. There are approximately four schools in this street so this is a danger to everyone living in the area,” the crèche owner said.

She said she told the children’s parents about the tigers and since then several children have stopped coming to school.

She has approached the owner of the tigers, wildlife organisations and the local councillor with the hope she can receive assistance. She said this has yielded no results because there is seemingly no legislation in place around keeping tigers.