Johannesburg, May 3 (EFE).- South Africa’s move to ban the use of captive-bred lions in big game hunting and the tourism industry was welcomed by conservationist groups on Monday.
“We are encouraged by the will to transform the conservation sector in South Africa, we are encouraged by the fact that one welfare concept is taken on board to legislate,” Fiona Miles of Four Paws International, an NGO, told Efe.
South Africa’s environment minister Barbara Creecy on Sunday said the government would draw up new regulations for the industry based on recommendations set out in a report published by a panel of experts.
“According to the report of the Portfolio Committee, which was later adopted by Parliament, there was a predominant view that the captive lion breeding industry did not contribute to conservation and was doing damage to South Africa’s conservation and tourism reputation,” the minister said in a statement.
Echoing the panel’s findings, Creecy described the practice of captive lion breeding for hunting and tourism as “inhumane and irresponsible” and called for South Africa to re-imagine its management of wildlife to make it “sustainable” for both the animals’ welfare and the economy.
Neil Greenwood, the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Africa director, said: “This is a time to celebrate.
“Captive breeding and canned hunting of lions is one of the worst animal welfare abuses of modern times.
“It’s taken more than 20 years of campaigning, and the cruel deaths of thousands of lions purely due to commercial greed for the South African Government to finally call it a day.”
The prohibition of canned hunts will not affect wild game hunting, Creecy added in the statement.
“It is important to stress that the recommendations are not against the hunting industry. Preventing the hunting of captive lions is in the interests of the authentic wild hunting industry, and will boost the hunting economy and our international reputation, and the jobs that this creates.”