JOHANNESBURG, February 9 (ANA)
A group of animal protection groups has welcomed the denouncement of captive-bred or "canned" lion hunts by one of America's largest trophy hunting clubs.
The Humane Society International and Blood Lions® welcomed the announcement by Safari Club International that it would no longer allow the promotion or auctioning of hunts involving African lions bred and shot in captivity.
SCI said o Friday that it would no longer "accept advertising from any operator for any such hunts, or allow operators to sell hunts for lions bred in captivity at the SCI Annual Hunters' Convention," or include any entries of captive bred lions into its Record Book.
The organisation added that canned hunting "has doubtful value to the conservation of lions in the wild."
South African government data indicates that private operators hold between 6,000 and 8,000 captive African lions in approximately 200 facilities where canned lion hunts sell for around $45,000 each, though price tags rise depending on the size and colour of the male lion's mane.
Of the 1,052 trophies from captive lions traded internationally in 2015, American hunters killed 686 animals, and imported their body parts into the United States – about 65 percent of the total.
Pippa Hankinson, producer of the film Blood Lions®️, said "South Africa's lion breeding industry is truly shameful.
"Lion cubs are ripped from their mothers as early as a few days old and hand reared to habituate them to people. Paying volunteers then raise these lions under the false belief that they are orphans, the same cubs are also exploited for tourist cub petting and, once older, for the 'walking with lions' activity," said Hankinson.
"The adult lions are then sold off to trophy hunters for canned hunts or killed for the lion bone trade. This is a cycle of mistreatment that must end."
Audrey Delsink, executive director of HSI/Africa, said: "Humane Society International and Blood Lions® have firmly opposed the shocking practice of canned lion hunting, and we welcome SCI's adopted policy".
"We are proud partners with Blood Lions® and the campaign to end the exploitation of captive bred lions and the industry it perpetuates," said Delsink.
"In South Africa, captive breeding of lions is fraught with welfare and ethical concerns. We therefore urge the South African government to shut the lid on canned-lion hunting for good."
· Other hunting organisations which have already spoken out against trophy hunting of captive-bred lions:
. Dallas Safari Club
. Boone and Crockett Club
. South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association
. Operators and Professional Hunter Associations of Africa
. Namibia Professional Hunters Association
. Rowland Ward Ltd
· In November 2017, the South African Professional Hunters Association amended its constitution to allow for the hunting of captive bred lions under specific circumstances. This resulted in their suspension from OPHAA, the loss of sponsorship and fragmentation of PHASA.
· In its 2015 Biodiversity Management Plan, the government of South Africa stated "captive lions are bred exclusively to generate money."
· An African lion listing US Endangered Species Act petition from HSI and partner groups prohibited the import of captive lion trophies effective January 22, 2016.
· On November 28, 2017, 25 individuals representing the African Lion Working Group, prominent lion researchers, National Geographic, and leading wildlife conservation groups submitted a letter to the Secretary of the US Department of the Interior.
It urged the US to maintain its current restriction on importation of captive-origin lion trophies, stating:
. "The hunting of captive-bred lions neither benefits biodiversity conservation, nor the conservation of wild and free-ranging lions."
. "Today, the most prolific threats to wild lions are a lack of safe and suitable space, and conflict with people. The captive breeding of lions does not address these threats."
. "Captive lion breeders are not preventing the poaching of wild lions, and may in fact be stimulating it."
; Editing by Moses Mudzwiti
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