As announced earlier this week, on Sunday Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment of South Africa, released the High Level Panel (HLP) report on the management, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros. The long-awaited report was supposed to give recommendations on captive lion breeding. 

In her statement, Minister Creecy pointed out that “The Panel identified that the captive lion industry poses risks to the sustainability of wild lion conservation resulting from the negative impact on ecotourism which funds lion conservation and conservation more broadly, the negative impact on the authentic wild hunting industry, and the risk that trade in lion parts poses to stimulating poaching and illegal trade. The panel recommends that South Africa does not captive -breed lions, keep lions in captivity, or use captive lions or their derivatives commercially. I have requested the department to action this accordingly and ensure that the necessary consultation in implementation is conducted.”

According to Minister Creecy, the report provides a platform for a New Deal for people and wildlife in South Africa, which will transform the practices within the wildlife industry, enhance conservation and will improve South Africa’s reputation, “repositioning the country as an even more competitive destination of choice for ecotourism and responsible hunting”.

Next steps in the long process of phasing out lion farming would include the drafting of a Policy Position that would cover the key policy implications of the recommendations of the report and a White Paper on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use.

Read Barbara Creecy’s full statement here: https://www.environment.gov.za/speeches/creecy_releaseofhlpreport_pretoria

The release of the High Level Panel report comes just weeks ahead of the World Festival Premiere of “Lions, Bones & Bullets” on 21 June this year at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival. Campaigners agree that the film is now more crucial than ever to keep the pressure on the authorities to not reverse the decision, like they have done in the past when faced with pressure from captive lion farmers.

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