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#ShockWildlifeTruths: Will SA’s estimated 7 000 canned lions all end up this way?

Cape Town – The issue of canned lion hunting has never received as much attention than before the death of Cecil the lion or the controversial SA based-documentary Blood Lions.

And while many strides have been made over the last two years against the unethical practices of canned lion hunting – questions have remained around what the future would be for SA’s estimated 7 000 lion in captivity if the practice was banned outright.

The recent announcement by the department of home affairs of an approved 2017 quota of 800 lion skeletons, unfortunately seems to indicated exactly what that future might be.

The DEA says the export will only be from captive-bred lions as per the specific parameters approved by Convention in the Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

But it’s a case of dammed if you do, with the DEA reiterating its concern that “if the trade in bones originating from captive bred lion is prohibited, lion bones may be sourced illegally from wild lion populations.”

Lions in South Africa are listed under Appendix II which means their products can be traded internationally but only “if the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.” The numbers of African free-range lions have declined alarmingly over the last few decades with only 20 000 remaining today, down from 30 000 just two decades ago.

Criticism has been leveraged against the sale, saying it would imperil wild lions as it is feeding demand within the market – as well as raising ethical concerns around the canned lion industry and the perpetuation of other industries associated with it.

Lion bone trade promotes canned lion hunting

According to a Conservation Action Trust report, in 2016, according to Panthera, 90% of lion carcasses found in the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique all had their skulls, teeth, and claws removed while rates of poisoning lions specifically for bones increased dramatically in Niassa National Reserve in northern Mozambique. In Namibia, 42% of lions killed in the Caprivi had their skeletons removed.

According to wildlife investigator, Karl Amann, the trade is fueling the demand in Asia. The south-east Asian country now dominates the lion-bone market.

Amann says the CITES trade data base shows that  between 2009 and 2015 Laos has bought over 2000 complete lion skeletons from South Africa. This excludes the 2 300 bones and 40 skulls sold separately as incomplete skeletons”

Lion bones arrive in Laos but are then illegally exported to Vietnam without the requisite CITES export permits. Here they are boiled down, compacted into a cake bar and sold at a price of around US$1000 (currently R12 830 – R12.83/$) to consumers who add it to rice wine.

“The DEA’s move is widely regarded as open support for the controversial practice of canned lion hunting. A captive lion breeder – one of 300 in South Africa – can be paid anywhere from US$5000 (R64 150) to US$25 000 (R320 750) for each lion permitted to be shot. Now they can add an additional $1500 (R19 245) per skeleton permitted to be sold to Laotian buyers.”

So how is the quota determined and what impact assessments were done? 

A zero quota on the export of bones derived from wild lion specimens was taken at the Parties to CITES at COP17 in Johannesburg in 2016, says the DEA.

Further to this the DEA put a stop to lion bone and other derivative exports at the beginning of 2017, until a quota had been set and the management process thereof had been determined, which it now has. It says the quota will be managed at a national level, with applications still dealt with and assessed via the provincial nature conservation authorities level.

“The South African population of Panthera leo (African lion) is included in Appendix II of CITES. In terms of Article IV of the Convention, an export permit shall only be granted for an Appendix II species when a Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of that species, says Molewa.

During COP17 the CITES listing for lion was amended to include the following annotation, which SA agreed to as a risk-averse intervention.

“For Panthera leo (African populations): a zero annual export quota is established for specimens of bones, bone pieces, bone products, claws, skeletons, skulls and teeth removed from the wild and traded for commercial purposes. Annual export quotas for trade in bones, bone pieces, bone products, claws, skeletons, skulls and teeth for commercial purposes, derived from captive breeding operations in South Africa, will be established and communicated annually to the CITES Secretariat.”

Added to this, the DEA says a 2015 study commissioned by TRAFFIC raised concerns around the shift in lion and tiger bone trade; namely that when the trade in tiger bone was banned; the trade shifted and bones were sourced from South Africa, available as a by-product of the hunting of captive bred lions.

“A well-regulated trade will enable the department to monitor a number of issues relating to the trade, including the possible impact on the wild populations,” says Molewa.

Quota allocations going forward?

The DEA says the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) will conduct a 3-year-long study aimed at increasing the understanding of the lion bone trade in South Africa and the captive lion breeding industry – as well as inform the Scientific Authority on a sustainable annual quota.

“It will investigate how the trade in captive produced lion bone under a quota system affects wild lion populations, and will further strengthen the evidence base for the annual review of the quota in order to ensure it is sustainable and not detrimental to wild populations.

“The decision on the annual export quota was reached following an extensive stakeholder consultation process during which the Department considered all variables, including scientific best practice. It cannot be said, therefore that this determination was made arbitrarily or in a non-transparent manner,” says Molewa.

The decision continues to spark international condemnation from conservationists and local stakeholders alike.

“It is irresponsible to establish policy that could further imperil wild lions,” says Dr Paul Funston, Senior Director of Panthera’s Lion Programme earlier this year when the DEA first proposed its plans.

Those who included their voice of concern include Singita together with other prominent safari operators &Beyond and Great Plains Conservation, warning how it was damaging the safari industry.

Panthera also called it “irresponsible to establish policy that could further imperil wild lions—already in precipitous decline throughout much of Africa—when the facts are clear; South Africa’s lion breeding industry makes absolutely no positive contribution to conserving lions and, indeed, further imperils them.”

But the DEA insists they are acting within the environmental law, and says a “well-regulated trade will enable the Department to monitor a number of issues relating to the trade, including the possible impact on the wild populations”.

Panthera has warned legalisation of a trade in lion bones will stimulate the market and endanger both captive and wild lion populations.

“There is significant evidence that South Africa’s legal trade in captive-bred lion trophies is accelerating the slaughter of wild lions for their parts in neighbouring countries and is, in fact, increasing demand for wild lion parts in Asia — a market that did not exist before South Africa started exporting lion bones in 2007.”

2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards longlist revealed

The competition for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards has moved into the second round, with over 30 tourism organisations competing for top spots at the awards ceremony at WTM Africa in April.

Sponsored by WESGRO and organised by Better Tourism Africa, the awards recognise African organisations that offer a shining example of how tourism can benefit the local people, the environment, and destinations. The awards are part of a family of regional Responsible Tourism Awards which culminate each year with World Responsible Tourism Day at WTM in London. This year, the longlist names tourism organisations from Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Longlisted organisations compete in seven categories, among them habitat and species conservation, engaging people and culture, poverty reduction and a new category in 2017 – the best responsible event.

“The quality of entries which have made it through to the longlist this year confirms the power of responsible tourism as a force for good in Africa. Each and every one of these organisations is playing an important role in championing responsible tourism. We’ve reviewed the information from the first round entry forms, and are excited about the possibilities,” says Heidi van der Watt, founder of the African awards and director of Better Tourism Africa. The longlisted organisations will now be rigorously questioned and their submissions reviewed by the judging team. Chair of Judges, Professor Harold Goodwin says:

“The field for the 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards (ARTA) is even stronger than previous years – and that takes some doing! Those longlisted have been invited to complete a detailed questionnaire, we’ll take up references and make some inquiries. On judging day we’ll identify those that demonstrate the difference that taking responsibility can make, and have the capacity to educate and inspire others to be more responsible.” The general public can also offer support or otherwise for longlisted organisations by emailing talktous@africanresponsibletourismawards.com. Based on all the evidence, the independent judging team, made up of industry experts, will debate the entries and select the shortlist and winners. The shortlist will be announced on 7 April 2017.

The 2017 African Responsible Tourism Awards winners will be announced at a ceremony that will be held on Thursday 20 April 2017 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. The ceremony is part of the responsible tourism programme at WTM Africa, which takes place from 19 to 21 April 2017. Carol Weaving, Managing Director for Reed Exhibitions, organiser of WTM Africa, says:

“WTM Africa is now firmly established on the African travel and tourism event calendar. Responsible Tourism is a cornerstone of WTM Africa and integral to the success of tourism on the continent. All stakeholders have a duty to ensure education, sustainability, and authenticity when promoting the unique experiences that Africa has to offer. We look forward to an exciting third edition of the African Responsible Tourism Awards, here in Cape Town at the CTICC at WTM Africa.”

The 2017 ARTA longlist

@BushCampsAfrica African Bush Camps
@African_Impact African Impact
@alloutafrica All Out Africa
@basecampexplore Basecamp Explorer
@Blood_Lions Blood Lions™
@bushfirefest Bushfire
@CoffeeShackBP Coffee Shack Backpackers
@WeAreWilderness Damaraland Camp & the Torra Conservancy
@porinisafaris Gamewatchers Safaris
@GreatPlainsCons Great Plains Conservation
@GreenGirlAfrica Green Girls in Africa
@ilhablue.islandsafaris Ilha Blue Island Safaris
@influencetours Influence Tours
@IsibindiAfrica Isibindi Africa Lodges
@Khayavolunteers Khaya Volunteer Projects
@KwandweReserve Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
@LEO.Africa LEO Africa
@MaasaiOlympic Maasai Olympics
@MabonengArts Maboneng Township Arts Experience
@MabonengArts Maboneng Township Arts Experience Festival
Mashujaa Peace Walk
@PantheraAfrica Panthera Africa
@SaltyCrax_SAVE Save Foundation
@serenahotels Serena Hotels
@simiens.lodgeSimien Lodge
Sterkspruit Community Art Centre Tele Bridge Race
@Thanda_ Thanda Safari
@thebackpackcpt The Backpack
@WeAreWilderness Tour de Tuli
@TzaneenLodge Tzaneen Country Lodge
@LetsGoTravelKE Uniglobe Lets Go Travel
@UthandoSouthAfr Uthando
@WarriorOnWheels Warrior On Wheels Foundation
@WeAreWilderness Wilderness Safaris
@wildlifeact Wildlife ACT

US imposes canned lion trophies ban

They just want another cheque, say critics

THE US will no longer allow lion trophies to be imported from captive lion populations in South Africa, describing this as a “major step” for the conservation of the species across Africa.

Writing in the Huffington Post yesterday Dan Ashe, the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFW), said it “cannot and will not allow trophies into the US from any nation whose lion conservation programme fails to meet key criteria for transparency scientific management and effectiveness”.

Last year, the US announced it had changed the rules relating to the import of lion trophies into the country, now requiring US hunters to obtain an import permit for their lion trophies before the hunt takes place.

“To permit the import of lion trophies, exporting nations like South Africa must provide clear evidence showing a demonstrable conservation benefit to the longterm survival of the species in the wild. In the case of lions taken from captive populations in South Africa, that burden of proof has not been met,” Ashe wrote in the publication this week.

But Chris Mercer, of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting, suggested this was “at the very least, a clever public relations coup. USFW can claim to be protecting lions, which it is not, it can claim to be supporting weak African conservation structures, which it is not, and can claim to be controlling the hunting industry, which it is not”.

Other than “adding a layer of bureaucracy” to the paperwork of foreign hunters and “infuriating hunting thugs, nothing will change on the ground. Canned lion hunting will continue unabated,” he remarked.

“Foreign lion hunters have already found a way around this restriction US imposes canned lion trophies ban it is not a ban by employing ‘pay to play’ tactics.

“Each hunter will donate, say $5 000 (R70 000), to a lion research organisation in return for a permit to import his tame lion trophy.

“In that way, he proves the ‘hunt’ will ‘enhance the survival of wild lions’ as required by the new rule. Just another layer of bureaucracy and another cheque to write,” said Mercer.

Blood Lions, a campaign to outlaw captive and canned hunting, applauded the US move, “which in many ways is even more significant than the earlier bans introduced by Australia, France and the Netherlands”.

“So many people have become part of the campaign to end these unethical practices. It is now incumbent upon the breeders and hunters as well as the South African authorities to respond accordingly” it stated.

Safari Club International, a hunting outfit, has described the US restriction as “blocking US hunters from participating in sustainable use conservation”.

Pieter Potgieter, the chairman of the SA Predator Breeders Association, says they have their own plans to demonstrate the conservation value of captive bred lions.

“This does not include money paid to organisations in exchange for a permit. We’re in the process of negotiating with the USFW to convince it that captive lion breeding makes a very important contribution to the conservation of wild lions, but they are still considering that.”

Ashe stressed that lions “are not in trouble because of responsible sport hunting” and writes how the USFW has also received applications from US hunters that hunted or will be hunting in Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe for permits to import sport-hunted lion trophies.

Shock that Lions May NOT Be Listed as an Appendix 1 Endangered Species

Late Friday night (30th October), lion conservationists were left feeling angry and frustrated at the fate of the once mighty and proud African Lion, when news broke that Lions may NOT be listed as a CITES Appendix I Endangered Species (a listing which would further safeguard lions from extinction).

To decide the fate of the African Lion, CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) established a working group on Thursday to discuss the details, literature and positions of various countries at the convention – currently being held in Sandton – with the purpose of coming to an agreed understanding whereby Lions would either be given improved protection under CITES Appendix I, or see their current listing under Appendix II amended in view of the above.

However conservationists at the event say that unbelievably Lions may not receive the protection they so desperately need, and which the public at large demands.

Lions are currently listed as Appendix II, with their numbers as low as approximately 15,000 – 20,000 throughout the entire African continent!

Last night at CITES CoP17 Ulinzi Africa Foundation posted live updates from discussions with US Fish & Wildlife Service’s Dan Ashe proposing to the lion working group at CITES “a split listing of lions in order to address the interests of South African captive lion breeders”. One conservationist described this as “saddening”.

Another update read: “South Africa willing to consider split listing but notes it should be done based on sub species” (see below) although this now appears to be off the cards.

onservationists are asking: has the African Lion been short-changed at CITES?

Some countries were not even invited into this discussion group to help determine the future of lions. A Burkina Faso spokesperson said: “Burkina Faso delegation notes with concern that they are a range country for lions and were not invited to the meeting in which 28 countries took part in.”

Tanzania on the other hand was invited… and aligned themselves with proposals by South Africa and Mozambique, saying “if you look at the sheer numbers of lions in these range states, we are talking about two-thirds of the lion population in Africa. We feel if these populations are listed in appendix I it will affect conservation of the species within these range states – it is going to be ‘counter productive’. We strongly oppose the inclusion of these four key lion populations in appendix I.”

What Tanzania did not mention are the remarks by various lion conservationists and professionals, that Tanzania appears to have high levels of corruption and occasional killing of young male lions which has devastating effects on the lion population.

Captured In Africa Foundation’s Drew Abrahamson explains: “For every one male lion killed, whether hunted by a trophy hunter, poached or killed by local farmers as a ‘pest’, up to seven lions may die as a direct consequence of that one lion being killed for his/her trophy or bones. That’s because that male is likely to be the dominant male of a pride, or perhaps looking to sire cubs of his own.

“The female killed may also be the pride’s protector or main food provider during hunting. So killing just one lion, is actually killing several lions all in one fell swoop”

Drew also recalls: “Poaching of our rhino as well as the trade in body parts escalated at the exact point that South Africa sold a stock pile of ivory. We must take heed of the examples already set with lion, rhino and elephants and pay attention to what’s gone before… that will always be the best evidence to work from when establishing new regulations and laws for the protection of endangered species.”

Guinea contributed to Friday’s African Lion discussion group, stating: “We are convinced that the lion meets criteria for listing on Appendix I on a continental level. We want Africa to speak with one voice. The trade of lion bones is a global threat which affects CITES for nearly 30 years.

The trade of lion bones has been ongoing and is being exported to Asia… We have asked for stricter rules to stop that illegal trade and to strengthen the institutions of CITES.

“We regret an agreement cannot be reached for the protection of the lion.”

In response to South Africa’s position, Niger said: “With all due respect to South Africa, although we made so many sacrifices, if we cannot keep our position and they cannot accept our position, I’m sorry South Africa should be more flexible to our sacrifices. We cannot do more compromises.”

Earlier this year a documentary – Blood Lions – exposed the ‘canned lion’ hunting industry in South Africa. Up to 8,000 lions are in captivity in South Africa alone, bred to be killed, along with supplying an apparently legal trade in their bones to the Asian market.

Captured In Africa Foundation’s Paul Tully says: “It’s important to note, that when South Africa introduced a legal trade in lion bones in around 1997/98, there was barely no market for lion bones.

“Since then, the Asian market realised they could replace Tiger bones in things like Tiger Cake and Tiger Bone Wine, with Lion bone. This has caused a huge increase in not only trade of lion bones, but captive lion farming in South Africa to supply and cater to this demand.

“On top of the lion farming supplying lion bones, wild lion poaching has increased – with the view that Asian markets often prefer wild specimens as they believe them to be purer. CITES are seemingly quite happy for South Africa’s government to continue making a mockery of lions.”

Tully continues: “I thought CITES was here to stop this kind of trade which threatened species? Increased trade, increased poaching, lawless and unregulated lion hunting, captive lion farming exploiting this species even further, not to even mention the huge deceit towards tourists and wildlife lovers worldwide – what’s protecting the African Lion about that? What we are arguing has all be proven and shows a very worrying trend of exploitation and clear decline populations of lion.”

Drew Abrahamson sums up the feeling from South African citizens and conservationists fighting for wildlife worldwide: “South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe… you have let your continent and the lions down! Listen to those who have no agenda but a passion for wildlife.”

Saturday will see the African Lion discussion group reconvene to finalise their agenda for lions. Conservationists are hoping that sanity prevails and we can finally ensure protection for our heritage. The magnificent African Lion.

On a final note – well done and thank you to those countries speaking up for lions and against the exploitation for profit and greed.

 

Cites #Cop17’S Urgent Wildlife Challenges

The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) is currently taking place in Johannesburg, September 24 to October 5, 2016 at the Sandton Convention Centre.

CITES #CoP17,  attended by approximately 2 500 delegates, which includes representatives of 180 countries, is busy considering 62 proposals to change CITES trade controls affecting close to 500 species put forward by 64 countries from every region.

Its secretary-general, John E. Scanlon, has described the conference as ‘one of the most critical meetings in the 43-year history of the Convention’.
Changes to trade controls for the African elephant, white rhinoceros, lion, pumas, pangolins, silky and thresher sharks, devil rays, nautilus, peregrine falcons, African grey parrot, crocodiles, flapshell turtles, the Titicaca water frog and psychedelic rock gecko, as well as the Grandidier’s baobab tree and many species of rosewood, and other animals and plants are some of the conservation issues being discussed.

Some of the other challenges to be tackled are:

A review of the implementation of the Convention relating to captive bred and ranched species;
Tackling corruption as it affects illegal wildlife trade;
Scaling-up efforts to counter cybercrime in relation to illegal wildlife trade;
Strategies to reduce demand for illegally traded wildlife animals and plants;
Improving controls on the international trade in hunting trophies;

Rhinos
The 12 African rhino range states and ex-range states have agreed on an overall strategy to tackle poaching and increase the population of the animals in the coming five years. And after two years of discussions the African Rhino Range States’ African Rhino Conservation Plan was launched on the sidelines of the conference on September 25, by Edna Molewa, minister of Water and Environmental Affairs.

The African rhino range states and ex-range states are Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This plan will not supersede each country’s national plans and it ‘focuses on general principles of conservation on which all states could agree’, according to CITES’ website.
“[It] seeks to complement [national plans] by providing an overarching higher-level umbrella plan under which all the national plans can fit,” Molewa adds. “The continental plan also seeks to identify and focus on areas where collectively and co-operatively there may be opportunities for range states to work together to enhance rhino conservation.”

Some of the plan’s key points are:
1.Protection, law enforcement, investigations and intelligence: to implement legislation and strengthen law enforcement actions between both countries and different departments of government; improving investigation and collectively sharing knowledge, skill and state of the art technology;
2. Biological management: to achieve the envisioned growth rate to sustain, and manage the rhino population and to conserve genetic diversity through standardised monitoring;
Co-ordination: to improve co-ordination between range states by active involvement on an international scale;
3. Socio-economic: creating support for conservation by tapping into the local population through empowerment of people;
4. Political support: to boost collective continental political support for rhino conservation;
Communication and public support: to garner understanding and support from the public and all stakeholders involved in rhino conservation through targeted communication;
5. Capacity: to make certain there are enough human resources used wisely, and make sure they are appropriately trained and equipped; and,
6. Adequate financing: to explore and develop financing mechanisms and structures to make sure efforts are sustainable.

Ivory and Elephants
These are some of the ongoing issues to be discussed regarding ivory and elephants:
1.The interrelationship between illegal trade in elephant ivory and legal trade in mammoth ivory;
2. A decision making mechanism for a process of future international trade in elephant ivory, or draw the process to an end;
3. Restricting the legal trade in live elephants;
4. Managing the destruction of government-held ivory stockpiles;
5. Closing domestic markets for commercial trade in raw or worked ivory;
6. Parties will soon be able to freely access the world’s largest ivory database compiled using state of the art forensic techniques developed by Germany.

A new positive development is the IvoryID database, which German minister for the environment, Barbara Hendricks, symbolically handed over  to CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon, who said: “The use of modern forensics is a game changer in the fight against illegal wildlife trade. We are deeply grateful to Germany for developing a forensic technique that can determine the age and origin of ivory. Criminals illegally trading in ivory can no longer hide behind false claims of where and when they got their ivory”.

Accoding to the Cites website, the database – which can be accessed through a dedicated website – contains more than 700 reference samples from 30 African countries using data obtained from elephant ivory, with proven origin, provided by countries of origin, museum, hunters and others.

The African Grey Parrot
The African grey parrot has practically disappeared from many African countries. In Benin, Burundi, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Togo, populations of the species have declined 90% to 99%. In many more countries, the populations have declined more than 50% in the last three generations (46.5 years). In other nations, the bird is essentially extinct in the wild. If the capture for the pet trade is not stopped, we will see the African gray parrot succumb to extinction in most of the countries in West and Central Africa. Eventually, population declines became so severe that the majority of the countries in the African grey parrot’s range stopped all legal exports of the bird, except for Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2007, CITES recommended a two-year export ban from Cameroon for noncompliance with the regulations. And in January of this year, they recommended that all CITES Parties suspend all trade of African grey parrots from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
But now, several African countries have come together to present a proposal to save the Grey parrot from extinction.
The countries of Angola, Chad, Gabon, Guinea, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, European Union and United States of America presented a proposal to move the African grey parrot from Appendix II to Appendix I of CITES. Where species listed under Appendix II have their trade carefully regulated, for those listed under Appendix I, all international trade of wild-caught specimens is forbidden. Another nine African countries have joined in support of this proposal: Burundi, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Niger, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo and Rwanda. It is extremely encouraging to see such a wide show of support for these much stronger measures to protect this native African bird says www.defendersblog.org

Sharks and Manta Rays
South Africa, home to one quarter of the world’s 400+ shark species, will this month host the triennial meeting of the World Wildlife Conference where strengthened protection for sharks and rays will again be high on the agenda.

Delegates from over 180 countries attending the meeting – also known as CITES #CoP17 – will receive updates on actions taken following CoP16 in Bangkok, where five shark species, namely the oceanic white tip, porbeagle and three species of hammerhead, and all manta rays were given protection under CITES Appendix II, with trade in these species now being regulated to prevent over-exploitation. software has been developed for port inspectors, custom agents and fish traders to recognize shark species from a picture of the fin. iSHarkFin was the result of a collaboration between the FAO the University of Vigo and CITES, with financial support from the Government of Japan and the European Union (through the CITES project).

There are currently ten species of sharks and rays listed under CITES Appendix II, including the Basking shark, Great White Shark and Whale Shark, as well as the five shark and two manta species added to CITES Appendix II at CoP16.

Seven species of Sawfishes fall under Appendix I, which includes species threatened with extinction. Commercial trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. At CITES #CoP17 Parties will be asked to consider three more proposals to bring sharks and rays under CITES trade controls, namely to include:

Lions -another species marked for attention.

Although South Africa’s lion population is stable, its captive lion breeding industry remains a serious concern. A motion was recently approved at the World Conservation Congress calls for South Africa to review legislation and terminate the practice of ‘canned’ hunting and captive lion breeding.

“From a South African perspective, one of the most relevant issues to be discussed at CoP 17 is uplifting lion to Appendix I,” says Andrew Venter CEO of wildlands and executive producer of the documentary about canned lion trade – Blood Lions. “But moving lion to Appendix I may not stop the captive predator breeding trade. In practise, it may strengthen the industry as CITES encourages captive breeding of Appendix I species as a conservation tool, arguing that this takes the pressure off wild populations.”
The re-listing of the African lion form CITES II to CITES I, meaning a downscale in the species’ protection, will also be considered, while the global call to place a ban on canned lion hunting will also be addressed.
Although South Africa has 7 000 lions in captivity, leading global conservation groups do not attribute any conservation value to these.

Pangolins
While many people don’t even know what a pangolin is and have never seen one, it is now the most poached animal on our planet, with millions being killed in the last 10 years. Now the pangolin range states have agreed to transfer all eight species to an Appendix I listing.
“There are rigorous measures up for debate that would enhance the international response to the trafficking of pangolins and are essential to ensuring the proper implementation the new listings. We strongly support these additional measures and hope that they will also be overwhelmingly endorsed,” says a WWF statement.

The Convention
‘CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. States that have agreed to be bound by the Convention are known as Parties. Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties – in other words they have to implement the Convention – it does not take the place of national laws.
Annually, international wildlife trade is estimated to be worth billions of dollars and to include hundreds of millions of plant and animal specimens. The trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. Wildlife and forest crime is not limited to certain countries or regions, but is a truly global phenomenon.’

The NSPCA has huge animal welfare concerns for the animals exploited in the captive predator and canned hunting industry in South Africa. This industry is unregulated, uncontrolled and is responsible for untold cruelty. It is a tragedy that our wild animals are reduced to profit making machines. Coupled with this members of public are unwittingly encouraging and supporting this cruelty, so it is vital that the public are aware of the truth behind the industry so they can make informed decisions and hopefully choose not to support such an unethical industry.

Sr.Ainsley Hay, Manager, NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit

Breeding magnificent wild creatures like lions in camps so that they can be slaughtered for ego and money is unconscionable and should be outlawed.  Lions have the right to live in the wild and to continue playing their unique role within the ecological communities of Africa.  The continued existence of the canned hunting industry is a moral outrage that diminishes us all.  This important film shines a light into the dark corners of this ugly business.

Cormac Cullinan, Cullinan & Associates Incorporated

Cruel, barbaric, macabre – all words used by Australian MPs about lion farming and the canned lion hunting industry in SA.  Our campaign was glad to be able to assist and participate in a full length documentary that aims to expose a brutal industry whose whole business model is routine, egregious cruelty to helpless animals – for fun.

Chris Mercer, Founder, CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting)

Captive lions have long been a blemish on South Africa’s wildlife and tourism landscape and their tragic story needed to be exposed before these practices negatively impacted on Brand South Africa. Congratulations to all involved in taking the time and making this happen.

Colin Bell, Tourism consultant and author of “Africa’s Finest”

“As a travel and conservation based organization, we find the “Blood Lions” documentary deeply disturbing. Despite being hard to watch, we urge people to get out there and see it. It is important to shed light on the dark and corrupt business of rearing lions for the purposes of hunting, in hopes of making a positive change. As we polled our membership, we found that individually each of our companies have chosen to stop booking all activities that contribute to this industry.”

The Safari Professionals – 30 Tour Operators based in the US and Canada

South Africa’s failure to address the canned hunting industry has emboldened those who make a living out of the death of lions bred, raised and slaughtered on a ‘no kill, no fee’ basis. The canned hunting industry is unnatural, unethical and unacceptable. It delivers compromised animal welfare and zero education. It undermines conservation and creates a moral vacuum now inhabited by the greed and grotesque self-importance of those who derive pleasure in the taking of life.

Blood Lions lays bare the truth behind the canned hunting industry that, far from contributing to the future survival of the species, may, in fact, accelerate extinction in the wild, leaving behind a trail  littered with rotting corpses of its helpless and hopeless victims.

Will Travers OBE, President Born Free Foundation

The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, in providing support for the making of this Documentary, does so in the firm belief that it is important that the true facts behind captive lion breeding and canned lion hunting in South Africa, is brought to the attention of a global audience in order to create awareness which in turn will lead to much needed change.

Les Ward MBE, Chairman, The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust

This is a timely, courageous as well as a deeply disturbing documentary. It is at the same time, a voice for the wild and the voiceless … of saying “NO MORE!” to that terrible triad of financial opportunism, deceit and indifference to the non-human animal by those claiming to be conservationists.

Ian McCallum – Author, poet, psychiatrist and naturalist

With the constant pressure on wildlife, every effort must be made to keep our last vestiges of natural fauna and flora protected.    Canned hunting of any kind, along with the related consequences, must be condemned by humanity as not only a travesty of nature but also an utterly inhumane practise.   Taming lion cubs only to later hunt them is an utterly inhumane practice.   It is pseudo-hunting, a complete sham and does not even qualify as hunting on a sustainable use basis.   Wildlife conservation has to evolve into practices that are ethical, humanitarian and sustainable. This will not be achieved if there is not real and fair community involvement which has not been part of the hunting fraternity’s evolution.

Yvette Taylor, Executive Director, The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation

“Canned lion ‘hunting’ is nothing less than a bargain basement opportunity for foreign hunters to engage in one of South Africa’s most sordid practices. Hunting of captive bred lions entirely dependent on human fingerprints from cub to trophy is immoral, unethical and against all animal welfare concerns. The fact that it still continues as profitable commerce is a damning statement against all of us who have not properly engaged to snuff it out. Blood Lions is a good start to bring change.”

Dr Pieter Kat – Director: LionAid

Canned Lion