South Africa has announced plans to crack down on captive lion breeding after a 600-page report found the industry risked the conservation of wild lions and harmed tourism.
The panel was appointed by the ministry in 2019 and recommended that South Africa end the breeding and keeping of captive lions for economic gain. This means that hunting and including tourist interactions such as cub petting and photo-tourism will be on its way out.
According to The Conversation, wildlife-based tourism in Africa is worth approximately $71 billion annually. A majority of the profits go towards the management of protected areas. Trophy hunting is also a vital source of this funding and contributes an estimated $200 million to economies across the continent each year.
Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, said the ministry would embrace all recommendations in the report.
“I have requested the department to action this accordingly and ensure that the necessary consultation for implementation is conducted,” she said at the panel’s presentation, referring to recommendations on captive lions. “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.”
The news has been welcomed by animal rights activists and groups who have been calling for an end to captive lion breeding and trophy hunting for years.
Last week, N.R.A. Chief Wayne LaPierre raised headlines after failing several times to shoot and kill an elephant during a trophy hunting trip in Botswana.
In the video obtained by The Trace and The New Yorker, LaPierre is seen approaching an elephant hidden behind a tree. He shoots the animal in the wrong location and asks, “Did we get him?” He then attempts a second time and misses again. After one more failed try, somebody asks, “Do you want me to do it?” and shoots the elephant dead.