IUCN World Conservation Congress, Honolulu, Hawaii - September 2016: Conservation Voices correspondent Cecile Sarabian attended the screening of “Blood Lions”, a film portraying the lucrative and legal business of canned lion hunting in South Africa. The screening was followed by a discussion with Dr. Andrew Venter – Executive producer and CEO of Wildlands Conservation Trust.
“Every single day in South Africa, at least two to three captive-bred or tame lions are being killed in canned hunts. And hundreds more are slaughtered annually for the lion bone trade. The Blood Lions story is a compelling call to action to have these practices stopped.” South Africa is one of the only places in the world that breeds lions commercially for hunting.
At the September 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress, the world’s top scientists, government representatives, non-profit organizations, and experts including Andrew Venter adopted motion 009 on Terminating the hunting of captive-bred lions (Panthera leo) and other predators and captive breeding for commercial, non-conservation purposes. A good start which unfortunately was not followed up in Johannesburg at the CITES CoP17 meeting late September, as the 182 countries present did not reach consensus on banning all international trade in African lions, from trophy heads to bones. Although the majority of participants agreed on banning the trade in bones, teeth and claws from wild lions, the Department of Environmental Affairs of South Africa recently decided to export 800 captive-bred lion skeletons annually to feed southeast Asian traditional medicine.
In this interview with Dr. Andrew Venter, we come back to the issues and challenges depicted in the film about canned hunting and wildlife conservation in South Africa.
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Photo Credit: Reuters / Ali Jarekji