Cape Town - CITES
CoP17 has dealt what is believed to be a devastating blow to African lions, critically
endangered with an estimated 20 000 lions left in the wild.
Nine African nations, namely Niger, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Togo wanted to raise protection for lions by uplisting them to Appendix I, the
maximum level of protection.
The move was intended to end the lion bone trade.
However Lions remain on CITES
Appendix II with a “zero annual export quota for bones, bone pieces,
products, claws, skeletons, skulls and teeth removed from the wild and traded
for commercial purposes.”
'A compromise proposal'
The compromise proposal was drafted at CoP17, currently underway in Johannesburg
until Wednesday 05 Octoberm is said to be an "attempt to appease
the fierce opposition from lion bone and body part traders and the hunting for
According to the document prepared by the European Union and Niger
in their role as co-Chairs of the Working Group on African Lion, South
Africa has been permitted to set its own export quota for the same body parts
and products from their captive breeding operations.
'You can't tell the difference between wild or captive bred lion bones'
In response Blood
Lions says, ”The trouble is, nobody can tell the difference between wild lion
bones and captive bred lion bones. Tragically, it does not include lion skins
or parts/derivatives obtained through captive breeding.”
ADI responded by says, it is deeply disappointed
and believes this move actually “encourages opening markets in lion bone trade”.
“Countries that are
not currently trading in lion bones will now want to join the trade. ADI
strongly opposes canned hunting, trophy hunting, and all trade in live lions or
their parts and derivatives. We urge all ADI supporters to take up this issue
and take forward the battle to save the world’s lions.”
The decision is in
stark contrast to the recent IUCN call for an end to captive bred lion hunting
operations, and the recent recognition by the countries with wild lion
populations, that the increasing lion bone trade poses a serious risk to the
survival of the species in the wild.
'Opening markets in lion bone trade'
Blood Lions maintains Lions desperately need
Appendix I protection, “Canned hunting operations and commercial lion trade is
not conservation, but actually fuels illicit trade.”
Added to the proposal, it states that subject to external funding, the Secretariat shall, in collaboration with African lion range States, the
Convention on Migratory Species and IUCN investigate possible mechanisms to develop and support the implementation of joint lion
conservation plans and strategies. It must also develop an inventory of African lion populations across its range, as well as develop strategies to reinforce international cooperation on the management of lions by undertaking studies on legal and illegal trade in lions to ascertain the origin and smuggling routes, in collaboration with TRAFFIC - see the full document here
However, in a Conservation
Action Trust piece written by Blood Lions Documentary maker Ian Michler, he
says, “Contrary to the
promotional claims, much of what takes place behind the fences of South
Africa’s predator farms adds up to an industry that cannot be sustainable.
Those involved won’t see it, and neither will they listen to words of warning
because of the lucrative returns they currently make. And government, a rather
odd bed-fellow to this constituency, seem to have been seduced by flimsy
short-term economic arguments. “
on to say that the notion of
‘sustainability’ has become the most overused and consequently meaningless
phrase within conservation and wildlife circles.
“Used in equal measure by those that
manage responsibly and the abusers of wildlife, it’s hardly surprising then
that the predator breeding and canned or captive lion hunting industry is also
invoking the term as a way of trying to sanitize what they do.
But how sustainable will it all be
when the ‘wildness’ and the thrill has gone?" Read the full column here.
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