Born Free has reiterated its call for the closure of South Africa's brutal canned hunting industry following the seizure of 342kg of lion bone at Johannesburg airport earlier this week.
The trade in bone from captive-bred lions is legal in South Africa and is part of the canned hunting industry, in which lions are hand-reared and used for selfies and walk-with encounters with tourists. Many are then transferred to facilities where they are shot by paying hunters in a confined area from which they cannot escape. Their bones are then sold to the Far East for use in traditional medicines.
Dr Mark Jones, Born Free's Head of Policy, said: "The seizure of a large number of lion bones at Johannesburg airport raises real concerns about the impact of increasing demand for lion bones in the Far East. While international trade on bones and other body parts from wild lions is illegal, demand is being fuelled by the legal export of bones and skeletons derived from the 8,000 or more captive-bred lions in South Africa, under a quota system.
"Captive-bred lions and other predators are exploited for profit at every stage of their lives. Many of these animals end up being targets for trophy hunters in cruel canned hunts, or being brutally slaughtered so their bones can be exported. The legal trade in bones from captive lions puts ever diminishing wild lion populations at risk, by stimulating demand and incentivising poaching and trafficking. The recent seizure at Johannesburg emphasises just how real the risk is, " Dr Jones added.
Born Free's latest campaign is calling for the South African government to end canned hunting and the trade in captive-bred lion bones. Join the campaign by watching The Bitter Bond and signing the petition.