This is an excerpt from an article written by Don Pinnock and published online by The South African on 06 October, 2020.
While government, wildlife farmers and NGOs remain locked in discussion about the future of lions, elephants, rhinos and leopards, the British conservation organisation, Born Free, has called on President Ramaphosa to close down the predator breeding industry.
Born Free has gathered around 250 000 signatures calling on the South African authorities to end the hunting of captive-bred lions as well as breeding and keeping them in captivity for commercial purposes.
It says that if South Africa is to be regarded as a responsible and ethical custodian of its wildlife and a country that cares about wildlife, urgent action needs to be taken to bring an end captive breeding and the sale of lion bones and skeletons into international markets.
Failure to do this, it warns, will have a huge impact on international tourism to the country, which is already struggling to recover from COVID-19 lockdowns.
“The industry’s unashamed exploitation of lions as cheap tourist props,” say Born Free, “is seriously damaging South Africa’s reputation as a wildlife tourism destination. Our petition, consisting of a quarter of a million signatures, demonstrates the strength of international public feeling.”