Today is World Lion Day, a day to celebrate one of Africa’s most iconic species and raise awareness on lion conservation globally. And this year we have something well worth celebrating. The South African government recently announced a complete ban on its controversial and shameful captive lion breeding industry.
For more than 20 years, the cruel industry which supports breeding lions for cub petting, canned lion hunting, and trade in lion bones has been growing at an unprecedented rate.
Over 10,000 captive-bred lions have been living in squalor waiting to either be ‘hunted’ or slaughtered for their bones.
In the meantime, only about 20,000 lions are left on the entire African continent.
Conservation and lion experts have proven that breeding lions in captivity has no conservation value whatsoever because of genetic deficiencies and human habituation.
The South African government has recognized this and that the squalid captive facilities are a breeding ground for zoonotic diseases, posing a major threat to people.
There is still much work to do to finalize this major move in securing a better future for lions in South Africa. Many decisions need to be made and 10,000 lion lives still need to be accounted for.
We are not there yet. But this is a major step forward which Animal International Survival (ASI) supports. Lions belong in the wild.
“We applaud this move in the right direction for lion conservation. Although there is much work to be done in realizing this massive shut down of nearly 350 captive lion breeding facilities, it is the only way forward if we are going to secure the lives of lions in the wild,” says Adrienne West of ASI.