#ShockWildlifeTruths: PHASA backtracks and approves 'canned' lion hunting

2017-11-24 12:08 - Kavitha Pillay
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Photograph by ©Ian Michler. Source: www.Bloodlions.org

Cape Town - In the midst of global outcry following US President Donald Trump's administration permitting the importing of hunted lion trophies, South Africa's lions will face even greater threat as the Professional Hunters' Association of SA (Phasa) has gone back on a previous decision and approved canned lion hunting.

Following a vote at their AGM on Wednesday night, 22 November, Phasa is permitting "the hunting of captive bred lions as a legitimate form of hunting".

However, this resulted in the association being suspended from the Operators and Professional Hunting Associations of Africa (OPHAA) and losing sponsorship from BookYourHunt.com.

ALSO SEE: US Centre for Biological Diversity sues Trump ahead of 'big-game trophy decision'

OPHAA says in a statement that it is "deeply troubled" by Phasa's decision "to adopt a new constitution that accepts the practice of captive bred lion hunting."

According to OPHAA, captive bred lion hunting brings the "entire African hunting industry, in every African nation where hunting is permitted, into ill repute".

It further states that Phasa's decision disregards fair-chase which is one of the "fundamental concepts of hunting" and says "without a doubt" it will jeopardise conservation efforts and the livelihoods of thjose who rely on well-managed and ethical hunting practices.

OPHAA members voted to suspend Phasa's membership "indefinitely", until further review. 

SEE: SA's controversial lion bones quota: Home truth of the canned lion life cycle you have to see

The African Professional Hunter’s Association (APHA) in Tanzania says it is "appalled" by Phasa’s decison to condone captive bred lion hunting. "APHA strongly condemns, and vigorously opposes any form of captive bred/canned lion hunting. Any member of the APHA found partaking in this practice, in any capacity, shall resign his/her membership immediately,” it adds.

Sponsorship terminated

BookYourHunt.com says it is "terminating its sponsorship agreement" with Phasa for "allowing its members to organise and participate in hunting captive bred lions" and reversing its previous position on the issue.

"We have had – and still have – utmost respect and admiration for the Association, whose effort helped create South Africa as the No 1. hunting destination in the world, their commitment to conservation, their daring voice in support of the hunting community, their input in breakthrough scientific research, community development and charity work," says the hunting site in a statement, adding, "However, the practice of captive bred lion hunts is incompatible with BookYourHunt.com’s standards of fair chase and hunting ethics, and is something we cannot possibly tolerate or endorse in any form".

"BookYourHunt, with utmost regret, has no choice but to terminate its sponsorship of PHASA and withdraw any further support of this organisation," it adds.

Blood Lions reacts

Blood Lions says it is "deeply concerned" by Phasa's decision "to reverse their position taken in 2015" when the majority of the members voted against captive bred lion hunting, and to "expel any members found to be involved in the hunting or marketing of captive bred lions".   

Ian Michler of Blood Lions says, "For the minority that continues to support canned hunting, most are now likely to side with the South African Predator Association (SAPA), a private sector body set up to represent the breeders. Their stance is a combination of ludicrously archaic thinking that seems to have no ethical or ecological grounding, as well as pure greed. We expect this group to continue with their attempts to justify intensive breeding and killing.”  

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