"We hope the leadership shown by South Africa will inspire other countries in the region and beyond to follow and make similar commitments."
Moving the world to protect lions
Back in May we celebrated when Ms Barbara Creecy, the Minister of South Africa’s Department of Forestry Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), announced the government would put an immediate halt to the domestication of lions and the commercial exploitation of captive lions, as well as establish a process to close captive lion facilities.
Now, within three months of the announcement, the Minister has released a draft policy position paper and requested public comments.
World Animal Protection answered the DFFE´s call for comments to their draft policy by applauding its proposal to “put an immediate halt to the domestication of lion and the commercial exploitation of captive lions, and establish a process to close captive lion facilities”.
But, we also shared our concern that the draft policy position included, as one of its five priority conservation policy interventions, to “re-position South Africa as a destination of choice for legal, humane, regulated and responsible hunting”.
Wildlife tourism in South Africa
There is a general consensus locally and globally that the commercial captive lion industry threatens both South Africa’s reputation and the survival of lions, as well as risking negative impacts on tourism, public health and safety, and many communities who spiritually value lions.
In our response, we provided evidence to illustrate that public concerns and discomfort about the ethics of trophy hunting have intensified in recent years. There are also specific concerns over the negative consequences of trophy hunting on species populations, biodiversity and wildlife conservation.
Together with six other NGO´s, we have proposed the concept of a ‘New Deal’ for wildlife in South Africa should instead strive to develop the country´s wildlife-friendly tourism industry to safeguard ecosystems and recognise the intrinsic value of wild animals as sentient beings.
This would aid the protection and enhancement of South Africa’s international reputation as a global conservation leader, while repositioning the country as an even more competitive destination of choice for responsible travellers and tour operators.
We hope the leadership shown by South Africa will inspire other countries in the region and beyond to follow and make similar commitments.
We also trust that South Africa continues to strive for environmental policies that protect individual wild animals and recognises their intrinsic value as sentient beings.
Lions and all other wild animals have a right to a wild life.
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