Lion breeders got together in the wake of the publishing of draft regulations for the hunting industry and protected species. They have formed the South African Predator Breeders Association, which will present the viewpoint of lion breeders regarding the proposed legislation.
The association says that the draft norms and standards are 'so onerous that they would result in the total destruction of a legitimate, sustainable industry that is of national importance and is of benefit, not only to the economy, but to our national conservation objectives.?
Comments are expected to include the industry's value in terms of job losses, loss of income to communities that derive income from lion breeders, the effect on various service industries, and the loss of foreign currency.
The association acknowledged that 'serious abuses involving major instances of cruelty by a small minority of breeders and hunters has taken place in the past and that the industry was in need of regulations (preferably national regulations) to stop these malpractices.?
Hunting Regulations in South Africa
Hunting of lion has become a phenomenon in South Africa. Local lion breeders benefit financially from this million rand industry. Tourists and hunters are willing to spend a fortune on lion during hunting safaris.
The hunting of captive-bred lion is legal in South Africa but the regulations and legislations differ in each province as are the hunting of other specimens. Knowing what the regulations are in each province is vital and important to comply before going out to hunt.
General hunting rules apply. Hunters may hunt on exempted farms in North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo but they get written permission from the landowner to hunt. A hunting licence and permit is required during hunting season.
Fortunes are made from a single lion at breeding farms. Tourists are charged around R50 to interact with cubs. Hunters pay up to R77 000 to shoot captive-bred lion. However, they are only interested in the the skin and head of the animal. The carcass is left behind for breeder to profit from.
The bones are sold to make lion bone wine and breeders are expected to profit R80 000 per carcass. Lion bone trading is legal but is said to be controlled within a strict means. Only bones from legally hunted lion may be sold. The death of a lion must be reported and verified to the police or provincial conservation officer if the specimen died of natural causes. Only then may the bones be sold. The trade of lion bone is only valid if it is sold to a person in possession of a trading permit.
A formal policy on captive-bred lion is yet to be adopted by The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa and South African Predators Association.