Global March for Lions – Sustainable Use has become Sustained Abuse

by Mar 3, 2014Big Cats, Wildlife News1 comment

On 15th March a Global Protest March for Lions will take place in cities around the world. This MEMORANDUM OF PROTEST explains why. This document will be printed out and handed over by marchers in 55 cities. 


CITES, you are failing to protect Africa’s wildlife heritage. We want you to bring the canned hunting of lions and other captive-bred predators in SA to an end. Pass legislation in similar terms to CITES Decision 14.69 banning the farming of lions for the sale of their body parts.


1. Numbers of lions being captive-bred in S.A. are growing by the day. Latest estimate; 8000 – nearly three times more than the number of wild lions in S.A. Reserves, that number less than 3000.

2. Foreign hunters are mostly from U.S.A. (+/-55%) or Europe (+/-40%)

3. Lion farming does not fall under the Department of Agriculture.  Nor does it have anything to do with conservation so it cannot be regulated by conservation officials. Lion farming thus falls between two government departments. In consequence, captive predators bred for hunting purposes have NO substantial regulatory protection.

4. Lion Bones are sold to known Asian crime syndicates who pay lion farmers US$1,000 for a lion carcass, which is processed in Asia and then fraudulently sold as tiger bone cake for US$70,000 per carcass (US$1000 per 100 grams).

5. Approx 1,000 lions are canned hunted annually in S.A. – about 3 per day. (same as the number of poached Rhino)


Have you even considered how the booming lion bone trade to Asia is going to impact wild lion populations?  What, if anything, are you doing about this growing threat?

Read about how Asian wildlife crime syndicates are making millions of dollars from old bones

The USA hunters – Weapons of Mass Destruction

Lion trophy imports in to USA:

2007: 395

2008: 547

2009: 470

2010: 351

2011: 406

2012: 423

That is well over 2,500 dead lions in a period just 6 years.  Oh, and more than 450 leopard trophies were also imported by USA in the same period. And leopards are Appendix 1 of CITES.

What shocking slaughter – how can this level of bloodshed and destruction of biodiversity be condoned?

SCI and other US weapons of mass destruction of African wildlife claim that hunting pays for conservation. Nonsense – it is merely a convenient device for African governments to shrug off their own responsibilities. 

Where are the benefits of all this bloodshed and suffering? All the years of killing?

Tell us: if CITES decision 14.69  is meant to close down Asian tiger farms that breed for commercial sale of body parts, because they are such a threat to wild tiger populations, then why are SA lion farms not treated as a comparable threat to wild African lion populations? 

Message to US Fish and Wildlife:

Raise the status of lions to Endangered.


1. Canned lion hunting in SA is a massive and increasing threat to the survival of wild lion populations in Africa. The astronomical profits being made by the Asian profiteers out of lion bones are stimulating an increase in the price of lion bone, which will, in turn, stimulate an increase in the poaching of lions for their bones.

2. It is cruel. The whole business model is based on cruelty to helpless animals from birth until death. Lions have become alternative livestock. Should farmers allow hunters to come on to livestock farms and shoot other livestock like sheep and cattle, for sport?

3. It is causing a backlash against tourism to South Africa. Ethical tourists are already boycotting SA, causing losses to the legitimate tourism industry. These boycotts will increase over time.

Avaaz raised more than a million signatures for their Petition against the trade in lion bones.

And here is a typical Petition against lion farming and canned lion hunting, calling for ethical tourists to boycott South Africa until these evils have been stamped out.

Other initiatives to mobilise the tourism industry to boycott facilities in SA that do not meet our Code of Conduct, are ongoing, and will have serious implications for resorts that offer cub petting or other links to lion farming.

4. This cruelty is illegal, but no one enforces the laws against such cruelty. The Animals Protection Act of 1962 covers cruelty to captive wild animals; not only cruelty to livestock and domestic animals.

5. It is a wasteful use of land and resources for no public benefit outside the narrow commercial interests of the hunting industry.

6. Private deals with rich foreigners give plenty of opportunities to unscrupulous soldiers of fortune for fraud and foreign currency swindles. Forensic audits need to be conducted across the industry, to protect the fiscus.

7. It is fraudulent at so many levels, right down to the sale of lion bones as tiger bone wine or cake, that have no proven medicinal value.

8. Wild lions are being killed in neighbouring countries (eg Botswana) to obtain cubs which are then smuggled across the border in to S.A. for unscrupulous S.A. lion breeders. Cross-border smuggling of wild-caught lions and other predators is a thriving business. 

This wholesale and unscientific killing of lions has long term effects on wild prides, destroying the core pride function. 

Research shows that it can take as long as seven years for a lion pride to re-establish itself after the death of the trophy male.

Without the demand for canned lion hunting, the slaughter of wild lions in neighbouring countries would not occur.

Why are hunters exempted from the general rule of EU Wildlife Trade Regulations, which require an import permit as well as the CITES export permit from SA?

What is so objectionable about requiring hunters to get an import permit for their lion trophy? Why is the full might of the IUCN Sustainable Use gang moved to lobby against such a sensible policy change?

Why is Big Hunting and its acolytes in CITES and IUCN so terrified of a simple import permit? Never mind a ban?

On our website you’ll find all you need to know about canned hunting, with a selection of relevant videos.

Lion trophy imports from South Africa to the EU Member States from 2007 to 2012 inclusive:

Czech Republic105
United Kingdom20

MESSAGE TO EU COMMISSION – Stop pandering to the hunting fraternity. 

Ban the import of lion trophies.

Many conservationists believe that lions should join the other big cats listed in Appendix 1 category of CITES. That all commercial trade in lions be banned – and criminalised.

But the hunting fraternity is campaigning vigorously to keep lions as living targets. Hunting industry propaganda typically claims that hunting is the lesser of two evils; that if “responsible”hunting were banned then African wilderness would be overrun by irresponsible poachers.

Few would dispute that most African governments have shown a lamentable lack of political will to protect their wildlife heritage. They have been content to delegate that responsibility to the private sector, either for comsumptive or for non-consumptive use. This clouds the issue and moves the debate away from fundamentals such as habitat loss and poor governance, to comparisons between the two different forms of use.

Closing the hunting industry down as a barbaric relic of colonialism – which it is – would force African governments to confront their own conservation failures, and take responsibility for preserving wildlife.

There is no shortage of funds in resource-rich Africa to fund the purchase of Presidential jets and excessive military expenditure. If just 5% of defence spending were re-allocated to conservation, African governments would have more than enough funding to preserve their vanishing wilderness.

The economic value of wilderness is by now well understood. Any threat to wildlife, whether from poachers, or trophy hunters or lion farming for canned hunting, should surely be treated as economic sabotage, and criminalised accordingly.

After all, it may be our animals that are being killed, but it is your citizens doing the killing, so you have a responsibility to intervene. Banning the import of lion trophies in to the EU would be one small step in the right direction.

So the message to CITES and the IUCN from the marchers around the world is this:

Forget Sustainable Use.  It has become Sustained Abuse.

CITES, you are failing to protect Africa’s wildlife heritage. Start protecting and preserving our wildlife heritage.


1 Comment

  1. Keryn Adccok

    4 kinds of mental weakness & sickness?
    1 = Sick “farmers” who farm for canned hunting (weak people looking for easy money)
    2-those sick hunters who get satisfaction from shooting canned lions (weak characters who think they will become macho by shooting a penned animal)
    3=those sick Asians who have false belief that lion (or tiger) bones can help their health or strength (weakness in not challenging unjustified traditional beliefs and seeking the real truth)
    4 = weakness in us all in allowing rampant abuse and not guaranteeing the protection of wild conservation areas and their inhabitants.