Proposal to export lion bones under the spotlight

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Lion.

No exports of lion bones will be authorised in 2017 until the export quota for the trade has been established. This is according to the Department of Environmental Affairs.

The departmental spokesperson, Albi Modise, says the conservation of lions in the country is highly important and no proposal will be allowed to have a negative impact.

He says the National Department of Environmental Affairs recently had a meeting with provincial conservation departments to discuss issues relating to the hunting of lions bred in captivity and the exporting of lion bones.

Modise says the current proposal to export lion bones is based on the discovery that the lion population in the country has been growing exponentially.

He says no lion will be killed on purpose, but the bones that will be exported are those of lions that had already died of natural mortality and some of those that would have been hunted.

Modise says the conservation of lions will not be affected by the proposed measure.

“At this particular point, it does not mean lions will be hunted in our national parks. National parks are strictly for pleasure, they are not for hunting. Hunting only happens in privately owned parks under the strict guidelines of the Department of Environmental Affairs without taking away the rights of parks owners. It is also guided strictly by the permit that has been issued for hunting by provincial departments.”

Modise says, based on an assessment of previous years’ trade information, which includes the trade of bones, a quota of exporting 800 skeletons was proposed. He, however, says this proposal will only be approved once all parties have been engaged and have assessed the environmental impact thereof.

Modise urges the public to submit their written input on the matter.

He says the scientific authority will communicate a final quota in March this year.

He says it is proposed that there will be a zero quota on the export of bones derived from wild lion specimens and that South Africa would only establish a quota for bones derived from captive breeding facilities in South Africa.

Katleho Morapela/ Courant News

katleho@centralmediagroup.co.za