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South Africa breeds lions and tigers for traditional medicine

This is an excerpt from an article written by Louise de Waal and published online by The South African on 29 July, 2020

In support of World Tiger Day on 29 July, Blood Lions puts the focus on the international trade in tiger body parts and makes the link to South Africa’s legal lion bone trade, in their latest campaign movement.

Since 2008, nearly 7,000 lion skeletons weighing a total of around 70 tonnes have been exported from South Africa to South East Asia for use in traditional Asian medicine practices.

This trade in lion bones is “supplementing and feeding the demand for tiger bones with a cheaper supply, against which criminal networks are making significant profits. The lion bone trade is keeping the desirability and demand for tiger very much alive, which is a huge problem for tiger conservation,” says Debbie Banks, Campaign Leader for Tigers and Wildlife Crime – Environmental Investigation Agency.

Since the beginning of the 20th Century, 95% of the world’s wild tiger population has disappeared and this magnificent big cat is now highly endangered. With fewer than 4,000 tigers left in the wild, every conservation effort protecting these apex predators in their natural habitat needs global support to avoid extinction.

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