Cape Town – The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Thursday condemned canned lion hunting and the killing of Zimbabwe’s most famous lion, Cecil.

During a national assembly plenary in Parliament in Cape Town, IFP member of parliament Narend Singh, said: “The practice of canned-lion hunting is unacceptable and must be driven from our country and continent.”

“It’s high time that South Africa stands up and says that its wildlife is no longer for sale to the highest international bidder, its high time that we stand up for our wildlife.”

Singh stood up in parliament on Thursday calling on government departments to work together to curb the killing of lions.

Discussing a recent showing of the documentary “Blood Lions” at the Durban Film Festival, Singh applauded the African National Congress’ Derek Hanekom for his involvement.

“We salute the Minister of Tourism who appeared in the documentary and hope that he will be engaging his counterparts in Environment and Agriculture on this issue as it will require a multi-pronged ministerial and departmental approach,” he said.

Singh called canned lion hunting an atrocity and disgrace and referred to the recent killing of Zimbabwe’s 13-year-old Cecil.

“This practice continues unabated at home in South Africa and in most of our fellow neighbouring states as well,” he said.

On July 1, Cecil the lion was lured, tracked, and shot with a hunter’s arrow by American dentist Walter Palmer who reportedly paid £35 000 (over R600 000) for the illegal hunt. Cecil was later shot dead and decapitated. A few days after the kill, Cecil’s carcass was discovered and Zimbabwean authorities confiscated the trophy that Palmer and his accompanying Zimbabwean hunters had made.

“It is safe to say that this barbaric practice and throwback from the days of colonialism is nothing but an abhorrent relic from an evil past,” said Singh.

“Why should the very few hunting operators be enriched at the expense of the many who will now never be able to see a ‘Cecil the lion’ proudly wandering our vast African expanses?”.

Singh said it was the duty of all South Africans and Africans to protect the continent’s wildlife.

“Our lions are apex predators, the pride of African wildlife, and they deserve nothing less than our most stringent protection.”