Investigating SA's captive lion breeding industry and the lion bone trade

What is the current state of South Africa's controversial captive lion breeding industry?

Nature conservationist Tim Neary invites wildlife conservationist and author Richard Peirce to talk about the documentary he's completing, on Refiloe Mpakanyane's Weekend Breakfast show.

Lions, Bones & Bullets follows the trail of the derivatives of the local industry to South East Asia.

In the film we go to South East Asia to look at the other end of the bone trade, which is South Africa selling skeletons - at the moment it is suspended - but selling skeletons to the Far East, mainly to Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, mainly for the making of 'tiger bone wine',

Richard Peirce, Wildlife conservationist and author

The most important question says Peirce, is should lions be farmed at all?

What we try and ask is the very central question: Should lions be farmed? Because the farming of lions is what leads to everything else.

Richard Peirce, Wildlife conservationist and author

But with rising numbers of captive-bred lions, what is to be done with these animals?

We're hearing extraordinary numbers. At the very low end of the scale perhaps 8,000 captive-bred lions; at the top end of the scale even getting on towards double that number, so what do you do?

Richard Peirce, Wildlife conservationist and author

If you tried to euthanize 12,000 lions there would be a global outcry.

Richard Peirce, Wildlife conservationist and author

RELATED: South Africa quietly reclassifies 33 wild species as farm animals

ALSO RELATED: Controversial reclassification of wildlife a positive move, says game rancher

Neary and Peirce discuss the what the fall-out would be of a total ban and the 2019 amendment of the Animal Improvement Act, which re-classified lions as farm animals.

Listen to the comprehensive discussion in the audio below:


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