Blood Lions – The Canned Hunting Industry Exposed

canned lion hunting

This film exposes the ugly truth behind South Africa’s canned lion hunting industry. It will premiere at the Durban International Film Festival on July 22, 2015.

In South Africa there are some 10,000 lions and the numbers are increasing all the time. But the lie behind this statistic is revealed in the fact that South Africa is the only lion range state that has three separate classifications for these great cats: captive, managed and wild. And so we find that only 3,000 – less than a third – are truly wild and living in designated conservation areas.


Read more at: http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2015-07-14-blood-lions-the-film-that-blows-the-brutal-lid-off-the-canned-hunting-industry/#.VaUpKnzbK00

News Source:  Daily Maverick
Image Source: Daily Maverick

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Zulu Church Embraces Faux Fur to Protect Leopards | China Post

zulu church faux fur leopards

A Zulu church has begun using faux leopard fur in traditional religious rituals. The use of leopard skins has been part of the Shembe religion for over a century.

“The leopard skin has got a significance because it shows power,” said Lizwi Ncwane, spokesman for the church officially known as the Nazareth Baptist Church. “For the past four months now, we have been using fake skins because we are trying to bring awareness among our people…”

 
Zulu church helps combat poaching, embraces faux fur to protect leopards
China Post
In a country where leopard-hunting permits are only affordable for the very rich or foreign tourists, conservation groups dispute that the trophies worn at Shembe gatherings are legal. ‘Totally illegal’. “This is the biggest display of illegal wildlife
Zulu church embraces faux fur to protect leopards
BusinessWorld Online Edition

 

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Doom for Africa’s cheetahs? (LionAid)

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African cheetah populations are small and fragmented. From Pieter’s Blog at LionAid.org, a report on the illegal trade of cheetahs and their “uncertain future.”

LIONAID: A recent poster by the Rangewide Conservation Program for Cheetahs and African Wild Dogs (RWCP) and the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) presented at the recent Symposium on International Wildlife Trafficking has some very worrying statistics on the illegal trade of live cheetahs and cheetah products.

The organizations estimate that about 10,000 cheetahs remain in the wild in Africa, many in small, scattered populations with an uncertain future. Most of those wild cheetahs occur in Namibia, and most of those on private land. Other organizations say about 7,500.

Let’s begin with the illegal trade in live cheetahs. The above organizations estimate 118 cheetahs (largely cubs) were involved in 2012-2013 alone. Forty of the cases were recorded from northeastern Africa, where there is a well-recorded smuggling route involving Somalia and Yemen as transit countries for a ready market in the United Arab Republic. There have also been cases of live cheetah smuggling in the Middle East itself, and also in southern Africa – perhaps to supply the captive cheetah breeding industry in South Africa.

Now let’s look at the “legal” trade in live cheetahs. Based on official CITES records, South Africa exported a total of 817 live cheetahs between 2002 and 2012 (records for 2012 are not yet complete). Major importing countries included UAE (130), China (101), Japan (79), Mexico (49) and, surprisingly the USA (110). Why the USA is importing that many live cheetahs is a mystery, but cheetahs do not breed well in captivity.

The other major exporting country for live cheetahs is the UAE. During that period they exported 77 animals – to Armenia (14), Great Britain (14) and France (10) among the leading importers. So the UAE is both a major importer and a major exporter of live cheetahs…

However, another major legal CITES export category of cheetahs is hunting trophies and these all derive from Namibia. The numbers are quite staggering.  From 2002-2012 (again, the 2012 numbers are still being compiled) Namibia exported 1,219 cheetah trophies. Such trophies are likely to all be adult males, though such details are not available.

Major importing countries were Germany (318), France (145), Austria (119), Spain (79), Poland (57), Hungary (51) and Denmark (43). The USA does not allow cheetah trophy imports as cheetahs are a listed species on their Endangered Species Act. Why then does the European Union not prohibit imports?

How many cheetahs are there in Namibia to support such offtake? The CCF does not know but was working on it according to a report in 2012 . Informal estimates arrive at a total of “about 3,000”.

Let’s say there are 3,000 – 4,000 cheetahs in Namibia. What percentage are adult males? Let’s be generous and say 20% (the rest being females, subadults and cubs). That would mean 600-800 males in Namibia, being hunted at a rate of about 116 animals per year.  How can this be in any way “sustainable”?  CITES actually allows an export quota of 150 cheetahs annually – live, skins, trophies. This level of exports was negotiated by Namibia.

So overall, the picture looks very worrying for cheetahs. Involved in illegal cub smuggling is only one concern. It is also disturbing that so many cheetahs are involved in the “legal” trade – many to dubious destinations. And then, Namibia is supporting a highly contentious level of trophy hunting to say the least.

If cheetahs are going to be conserved, it seems that conservation plans are in considerable disarray. Agonizing over the illegal wildlife trade is not convincing when the legal trade is undermining and confusing conservation efforts. The CCF supports cheetah trophy hunting as a conservation measure but must surely need to convince the Namibian authorities to bring their export quotas well down from current levels.

Cheetah protection will demand carefully considered conservation measures. Right now it seems a formula bound to fail, and until proper assessments can be made there should be an immediate moratorium on all cheetah exports from Africa – live, skins and trophies.

Photo credit:  http://bit.ly/1mirsmN   and Steve Bloom Images

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Silver Lining for Lions of West Africa (Panthera)

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It was recently reported that there are less than 400 wild lions in West Africa. In this story, Panthera talks about a possible “silver lining” for this critically endangered species. The Silver Lining for the Lions of West Africa was originally published at Panthera.org on February 13, 2014.

PANTHERA: In a press release published last month, Panthera outlined the results of a new report confirming that lions are now Critically Endangered and face extinction across the entire region of West Africa.

Led by Panthera’s Lion Program Survey Coordinator, Dr. Philipp Henschel, the study required a massive survey effort extending across 21 parks and 11 countries over a six year period. The results, unfortunately, are somber: today fewer than 400 lions remain in four isolated populations in West Africa, with only 250 of these being breeding adult lions.

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Canned tigers? (LionAid)

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Tiger “farms” in South Africa – where tigers are bred for trophy hunting. In this article, Pieter Kat from LionAid talks about captive-bred tigers. Canned tigers? was originally posted on January 27, 2014 at LionAid.org.

LIONAID: Many of you will probably know about the “tiger farms” in China that breed tigers to supply skins and potions like tiger bone wine. There is considerable outrage about these farms internationally, not only because of the conditions under which the tigers are kept, but also because of the ethics of breeding animals for their body parts.

I wrote a short blog on the issue in September 2012.

Earlier that year I also wrote a blog about the tiger breeding that goes on in South Africa.

Despite these blogs, and raising the issue at various meetings with UK Members of Parliament and Defra, there continues to be silence and complacency about the SA tiger farms. There, tigers are raised for live export to a number of countries including the United Arab Emirates, Myanmar and Vietnam. During the ten years 2002-2011, a total of 170 live tigers were exported to such dubious destinations. But perhaps more strangely, tigers in SA are also available to be trophy hunted.

It is the only place left in the world where you can go and trophy hunt a tiger. I have not been able to determine how much a tiger hunt costs, but it would appear to be substantial. Over the ten years 2002 – 2011, CITES records indicate that 17 tiger trophies were exported (not re-exported) and that the source was captive-bred tigers.

Who would want to hunt a captive bred tiger? The trophies went to the United Arab Emirates (6), Norway (3), Poland (2) and one each to Spain, Germany, France, Lebanon, Pakistan, and an unnamed country.

Apart from needing a CITES export permit, these trophies do not need the usually necessary import permits required for a species listed on CITES Appendix I as they are hunting trophies and therefore “personal and household effects”.  Also, since these are privately owned exotic animals in South Africa, they further escape much regulatory notice.

Meanwhile, tiger breeders must be enjoying their “niche market” in South Africa out of the public eye?

Picture credit: http://bit.ly/19XfsF2

If you have not already signed up to our mailing list, you can add your name here and keep up to date with our ongoing work and, most importantly, DONATE to support our work to conserve the remaining fragile lion populations. Thank you.

 

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