ANIMAL activists and conservation organisations have declared “a victory for lions” after several groundbreaking decisions that could lead to the collapse of South Africa’s captive breeding and canned hunting industries.

This week, the Professional Hunters’ Association (Phasa) voted to distance itself from captive-bred lion hunting until the SA Predators’ Association (Sapa) could prove the conservation value of the practice.

While tension was reported at Phasa’s annual meeting this week, the vote had been carried, insiders said.

It is estimated that more than 1 000 lions were hunted in South Africa last year, and that there are between 6 000 and 8 000 lions alive in the captive predator industry.

Campaign Against Canned Hunting director Linda Park said she was happy.

“This dreadful industry, which has nothing to do with conservation, has been a blight on the landscape of the country and has certainly done much to tarnish South Africa’s image in the eyes of the world,” Park said.

Filmmaker Andrew Venter – who made a documentary titled Blood Lions – hailed the development and international pressure to ban canned hunting safaris as milestones.