Legal LIVE Trade

of felids from South Africa according to CITES

When it comes to discussing income generating spin-off activities from the commercial captive lion industry in South Africa, we mostly focus on cub petting, voluntourism, canned hunting and the lion bone trade.

The global live trade in wild animals is often overlooked, even though large numbers of wild animals, including indigenous and exotic big cats, are exported legally on a daily basis from South Africa under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) system. These animals are bred prolifically in South Africa’s commercial captive wildlife industry to supply international demand.

big cats exported legally from South Africa from 2010-2020
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CITES

TRADE DATABASE

This research was conducted using the publicly accessible CITES Trade Database.

CITES

TRADE DATABASE

This research was conducted using the publicly accessible CITES Trade Database.

Unpacking the research

Unpacking the research

Introduction to South Africa’s Legal Live Trade

When it comes to discussing income generating spin-off activities from the commercial captive lion industry in South Africa, the global live trade in wild animals is often overlooked. Large numbers
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The global demand for live wildlife is substantial

The global demand for live wildlife is substantial.The legal trade of wildlife currently takes place under the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)
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Why does the Live Trade in Wildlife Exist?

Why does the Live Trade in wildlife exist?The answer can be obtained from the CITES Trade Database, which is publicly available.For every CITES permit issued, the purpose of the transaction
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Purposes for Live Big Cats Exported

The vast majority (91.1%) of big cat species exported live from South Africa between 2010 and 2020 were bought by zoos, commercial ventures and captive breeding facilities.The purpose code T
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South Africa’s LIVE LION Trade

Between 2010-2020, South Africa exported 2,164 LIVE lions globally. This is in addition to the many lion hunting trophies and body parts we export for commercial purposes.The vast majority (98.5%)
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Where do South Africa’s Live Exported Lions Go?

The top 5 countries importing live lions from South Africa are: China Thailand Pakistan Vietnam Bangladesh Collectively, they have imported half of the total 2,164 live lions traded from South
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Why are Live Lions Traded?

The top 5 purposes for the legal trade in live lions from South Africa according to the CITES Trade Database are for: Zoos Commercial purposes Breeding in captivity Hunting trophy
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South Africa’s Live Cheetah Trade

This fastest land animal is often overlooked when we discuss the South African predator breeding industry, even though South Africa has a thriving live cheetah export market.Between 2010-2020, South Africa
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Where do South Africa’s Live Exported Cheetah Go?

The top 5 importing countries of live cheetahs from South Africa (2010 to 2020) are: China United States United Arab Emirates (UAE) Russian Federation Australia The distribution is quite evenly
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Cheetahs Destined for International Zoos

The United States is another main importer of live cheetahs from South Africa with the main trade purpose being zoos and breeding in captivity. Although many zoos will claim the need
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South Africa’s LIVE Leopard Trade

Although these solitary and secretive cats have a huge habitat range, according to the IUCN Red List, leopard is Near Threatened. South Africa’s TOPS list puts leopard in the Vulnerable
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Where do South Africa’s Live Exported Leopards Go?

The top 5 importing countries from South Africa (2010- 2020) are: China Malawi Egypt Canada Vietnam A WILD PERSPECTIVE An interesting importing country in this Top 5 is Malawi, where
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Commercial Trade in Leopards is Prohibited

Leopards are a CITES Appendix I species, which means that their commercial trade is prohibited. DEFINITION: Commercial use under CITES means “….to obtain economic benefit” and is “directed towards resale, exchange
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South Africa’s Live Caracal Trade

Although caracal can be commonly found in the wild in South Africa, Botswana and southern Namibia, this slender mid-sized felid is considered rare throughout most of its range. In South Africa,
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Where do South Africa’s Live Exported Caracal Go?

The top 5 importing countries of live caracals from South Africa (2010- 2020) are: China United States Germany Thailand Indonesia China is yet again the top importer with 246 live
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Commercial Trade in Caracal

The high number of live caracals imported from South Africa worldwide for commercial purposes (n = 681) is extremely worrisome, especially to countries like China (n = 152), Malaysia (n
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South Africa’s Live Serval Trade

Serval is a medium-sized, strong yet slender cat that is known for its jumping ability. During the latter half of the 20th century, serval were considered near extinct in South
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South Africa’s Live EXOTIC Big Cat Trade

South Africa breeds and trades a wide variety of exotic species, including predators like tigers, pumas and jaguars. TIGERTigers once occurred throughout central, eastern and southern Asia but in the past
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Top Reasons for Live Tiger Export

Most of the 384 live tigers that South Africa exported between 2010-2020 were imported by zoos (269), breeding facilities (54), circuses (42) and for commercial purposes (16), according to the
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South Africa’s Live EXOTIC Big Cat Trade

Over a period of 10 years, South Africa exported 384 live captive-bred tigers, 39 pumas and 34 jaguars. These exotic species were mainly exported to countries in Southeast Asia, such
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Live Trade of Endangered Species

Both tigers and jaguars are CITES Appendix I species due to their precarious conservation statuses, and should therefore not be traded for commercial purposes. Yet, both species are exported live by
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