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Reversal of export quota amounts to little more than window dressing

2018-12-06

Reversal of bone export quota amounts to little more than window dressing

“Lion bone export quota should not be there in the first place”

Cape Town, 6.12.2018 – International animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS has welcomed the news from South Africa that the increase of the lion bone export quota to 1 500 in June 2018 has been reduced back to 800 carcasses as in 2017. Although relieved to hear this news, FOUR PAWS firmly believes that 800 is 800 too many. No lion should be killed for commercial trade.

“Moreover, when the original quota of 800 skeletons was introduced in 2017, it was already controversial as it was based on cherry picked research and questionable deductions. The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) pushed through the quota despite commitments made to CITES and a groundswell of opposition from both NGO’s and the public. Although optimistic about the reduction, we are wary that the unfounded sudden increase and decrease of the quota could be a tactic to make opponents forget that the quota should not be there in the first place,” says Barbara van Genne, FOUR PAWS big cat expert.

Lions as a potential source for the establishment of new populations: breeding
FOUR PAWS is opposed to breeding big cats in captivity and remains critical regarding breeding of big cats for conservation purposes. Breeding for conservation is a complex issue with many different aspects and welfare deficits, such as the killing of surplus animals, which cannot be justified with potential, vague conservation benefits.

“At the moment, reintroduction of captive bred big cats plays no role at all and big cat breeding programs seem to only provide a genetically survivable zoo population. Breeding big cats to make sure specimens remain in captivity as they disappear from the wild, is a human-centered approach, which does not contribute to species protection,” says Van Genne.

FOUR PAWS believes that protecting threatened animals inside their natural habitats is the most promising approach for species protection.

Parliamentary report
A parliamentary portfolio committee report released in South Africa early November recommends that captive breeding of lions should be banned along with canned hunting practices. The report found that the continuation of these practices wouldn’t only harm South Africa’s conservation image but would also amount to losses in tourism of more than R56 billion over the next decade.

“There is a clear and grim picture painted for South Africa should the trade and captive breeding of lions continue. We welcome the resolution that a full audit of breeding facilities in South Africa should be done and to ascertain whether the DEA is aware of lion and cheetah cub petting and walking farms in the country – which is essentially where the vicious cycle starts,” says Fiona Miles, FOUR PAWS South Africa country director.


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