The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Africa

Stephen Wiggins Article, Studies 3 Comments

There is a planned Colloquium” (workshop) on the 21 and 22 August 2018 in Cape Town, South Africa titled “Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa; Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country[?]” The answer seems fairly obvious, the harm is manifest:

IWB’s letter to the Chairperson: Hon Mr MP Mapulane (MP):

Captive Lion Breeding Colloquium, 21 and 22 August 2018

Update: Follow proceedings via – Blood Lions’ twitter account

However, Hon Mr MP Mapulane (MP) does not strike me as too open minded:

The Chairperson [Hon Mr MP Mapulane (MP)] highlighted that the concept of sustainable use has proven to assist in conservation, unlike what other people have argued [sic], especially the animal rights movement” – “Rhino Poaching; Marion Island challenges,” Parliamentary Monitoring Group, 14 August 2018

Ross Harvey (South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)) has summarised the disingenuous ‘captive’ industry “Picking a bone with captive predator breeding in South Africa,” 19 August 2018 and introduced an SAIIA working paper on the subject:

a “working paper of a report in two parts……The first is a formal academic review of the scientific and ‘grey’ (reports and newspaper articles) literature pertaining to the predator breeding industry….The second part of the report provides a framework for assessing the claims – made by the predator breeding industry – of economic significance and positive conservation value.”

The working paper can be downloaded as a PDF file – “The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Arica,” by Ross Harvey, August 2018

This working paper offers in-depth analysis, painting a damming indictment of the (scientifically unproven) claims made by the South African Predator Association (SAPA), the SAPA’s unethical deceit  and the blinkered ‘science’ used as a basis for the Republic of South Africa, Department: Environmental Affairs  (DEA) to perpetuate complicit support for ‘captive’ breeding/’lion bone trade’ – the lack of any forward precautionary principle thinking is laid-bare, such thinking clearly absent in the clamber to exploit/profit:

“…..perhaps the most surprising finding was the sheer extent to which the skeleton quota numbers for the last two years (from 800 to 1 500) appear to have no grounding in science. Also startling is how little reliable economic analysis has been conducted on this clandestine industry.”

Given the volume of unknown variables, the precautionary principle suggests that South Africa should be cautious about permitting the export of any lion derivatives and move to a zero export quota.”

Further Reading:

Lion poaching: the brutal new threat to Africa’s prides,” The Guardian, 5 November 2018

Aftermath of the Colloquium on lion farming in SA,” Chris Mercer, campaign Against Canned Hunting, 3 November 2018

Controversy over Skye the lion,” The Mercury, The Mercury, via Conservation Action Trust, 19 September 2018

The Ongoing Disgrace of South Africa’s Captive-Bred Lion Trade,” Adam Welz, Yale Environment 360, 18 September 2018

Welfare Of SA’s ‘Bone Lions’ Side Lined By DEA, DAFF,” iAfrica, 5 September 2018

Report to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs,” Don Pinnock, via Conservation Action Trust, 22 August 2018

Here we go again: Lion Bone – ‘To Trade or Not to Trade’ – It Clearly Matters,” Wildlife ACT, 27 August 2018

Kicking up Dust – the Colloquium in Cape Town,” Chris Mercer, Campaign Against Canned Hunting, 26 August 2018

A nail in the coffin of the captive lion breeding industry?” SA Breaking news, 22 August 2018

SA Lion Conservation Policies Rooted in Science,” Edna Molewa, Minister Department: Environmental  Affairs, Cape Times, 22 August 2018

South Africa has adopted a risk averse approach that is considered to be in the best interests of the conservation of the species” – Edna Molewa, Minister Department: Environmental Affairs (DEA)

So, why was the ‘lion bone trade’ launched in 2008 without any consideration of the continent-wide threats it could/does pose to wild lion populations? The Minster launched a three-year study in 2017 into the potential continent-wide threat the ‘lion bone trade’ poses to wild lions – hardly a risk-averse, precautionary approach to the species’ conservation – more like a knee jerk reaction once the exploitation and profiteering had already started.

Plus, the Minister is saying that any restrictive laws/regulations can’t be enforced – as without such legal trade (which stimulates demand), the Minster postulates that illicit trade would proliferate…….the Minister is lost in a vicious circle of her Department’s own making from 2008 – she is basically saying the ‘lion bone trade’ is now out of control whether ‘legal’ mechanisms are present to try and compete, or not (and stopping the ‘lion bone trade’ ‘would be a threat to wild lions‘ – a threat so created by the DEA and the lion breeders!).

This is the repeated downfall and hypocrisy of any wildlife trade once initiated by ‘legal’ means (be that rhino horn, ivory, tiger bones, lion bones….) – it morphs into an abusive, illicit system of greed and deceit that consumes wildlife – this is the lasting fallacy of the misuse and abuse of ‘sustainable utilisation’ (read exploitation) as some kind of universal panacea. The risks are never pre-considered (just the profit), but the same mantra and misuse repeated again and again (and spun as a best hope for any recovery of a long since lost ‘conservation’ imperative).

Largest lion bone carrier, Singapore Airlines, stops cargo from South Africa,” SA Breaking News, 21 August 2018

BREAKING NEWS: New Economics Report released – shows huge potential damage to SA Tourism,” Blood Lions, 21 August 2018

South Africa Public Opinion, August 2018,” Humane Society International, Ipsos Public Affairs, August 2018

Information Sheet: Parliamentary Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting,” Blood Lions and Conservation Action trust, 20 August 2018

Lion bones and predator farming – picking on the carcass of SA tourism,” Ian Michler, Daily Maverick, 17 August 2018:

Ross Harvey (South African Institute of International Affairs) report titled “The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Africa” estimates that “Predator breeding using lions and other species could cost South Africa over R54-billion [$3.68 bn USD] over the next 10 years in loss of tourism brand attractiveness.

BRAND SOUTH AFRICA: BEING SHOT TO SHREDS, ” SA Breaking News, 17 August 2017

’Captive’ Lions – DEA Fails to Answer Questions Fully,” IWB, 21 August 2017

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