In the face of renewed criticism of canned lion hunting, the Professional Hunters Association has vowed to expel any members found to be involved in hunting or marketing of captive-bred lions, says a report on the IoL site. This follows a series of developments locally and internationally in the wake of the ‘Cecil the lion’ controversy in Zimbabwe and recent global screenings of Blood Lions, a documentary on the multimillion-dollar predator breeding and canned lion hunting industry in SA. Late last month, the US Fish and Wildlife Service also announced new curbs on the import of lion hunting trophies into the US. Shortly before the curbs were announced, the Professional Hunters Association of SA said it had revised its previous position papers on captive-bred lions and would ‘no longer tolerate this form of hunting’. This would be until the SA Predator Association could convince the Professional Hunters and the International Union for Conservation of Nature that captive-bred lion hunting was ‘beneficial’ to lion conservation.
The US Government’s federal protection of lions could end canned hunting when a new rule goes into effect in about three weeks, according to a report in The Washington Post. It notes that as part of actions listing African and Indian lions as threatened or endangered, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared it would make it much harder for American hunters to import the slain animals’ heads – their trophies and bragging rights, In addition, the fees for hunting permits will increase substantially. The report states a recent analysis by Humane Society International said harsher US scrutiny of trophy imports, along with higher fees and refusal of some carriers such as Federal Express to ship them, could drive the SA ranchers out of business. The organisation said almost nine of 10 lions shot in canned hunts in SA are killed by Americans. The report says Humane Society International studied data compiled by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an agreement involving more than 150 countries, and found that in 2014, a total of 363 lion trophies from SA (85%) were imported to the US. Poland was a distant second with 20 trophies, followed by Spain with 17 and the Czech Republic with 10.