This is an excerpt from an article written by Andreas Wilson-Spath and published online by Daily Maverick on 12 October, 2020.
Will the government and its high-level panel finally accept the overwhelming evidence that captive lion breeding should be stopped?
A small number of people breeding lions in captivity is holding South Africa’s wildlife reputation hostage with strawman arguments about the supposed benefits of the industry when, in fact, both public and scientific debate has conclusively demonstrated that it has no conservation value, that it is damaging to the country and that it should be closed down.
That was the conclusion of the parliamentary portfolio committee on environmental affairs after a colloquium including a wide range of stakeholders as far back as 2018. In a damning report, the committee described the industry as an “international pariah” and “a blemish on South Africa’s wildlife and tourism landscape” that “might have done irreparable damage” to the country globally.
It further observed that, while currently lawful, the industry’s practices are seen as unethical, immoral and socially unacceptable with zero conservation value, as captive-bred lions cannot be released into the wild and have minimal economic value.