The Government of South Africa has adopted a set of recommendations on wildlife management put forward by a High Level Panel (HLP), which will include the phasing out of the captive bred lion industry.
The recommendations were contained in a HLP report released on 2 May, 2021, which provided an overview of the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.
On the subject of lions, the report recommended that South Africa, in the future, should “not captive breed lions, keep lions in captivity, or use captive lions or their derivatives commercially.”
Minister Creecy from South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment confirmed that the department will be actioning this recommendation accordingly, along with the necessary consultation that will be required.
This news comes after the CIC and DSC released a joint statement condemning captive bred lion shooting (CBLS) in November, 2020. Since its initial release, eight more organisations joined as co-signatories of the statement, with all signatories sharing the view that CBLS is not representative of responsible, sustainable, fair chase hunting.
Once this recommendation is implemented, this should see an end to CBLS and other practices associated with the captive breeding of lions in South Africa.
The HLP report also broadly recognised the value of sustainable use and hunting, particularly of the five iconic species (elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros), in contributing towards the country’s conservation successes.
The other recommendations in the report included a need for: overall improved governance and capacity building in the sector, empowerment and inclusion of communities living with wildlife, and improvement of animal well-fare and well-being.
Furthermore, based on the recommendations on ivory and rhino horn trade, Minister Creecy stated that South Africa will “not be making proposals to CITES for further trade in these derivatives until certain conditions have been met.”
For elephants, these conditions include: a centralised electronic permitting system; capacity in source and consumer countries to monitor and enforce; and governance to ensure legal trade is not used as a cover for illegal trade. Conditions for rhino include the development of a global consensus for the legal international trade in rhino in the interest of rhino conservation.
The CIC would like to congratulate South Africa for looking to implement a more sustainable and ethical approach to wildlife management. We also recognise the excellent work of the High Level Panel participants, who conducted thorough research while consulting with all of the relevant stakeholders.