Help ban the lion trade in South Africa
Hundreds of South African lions are being slaughtered to be used in phony medicines, or captured for tourists to hunt them. South Africa is supplying considerable volumes of lion bones to mainly Laos but also Vietnam and China. Lion bones are being used as substitutes for tiger bone potions, as there is a global ban on tiger bone sales.
The South African trade involves lion breeders/canned lion hunters and taxidermists at least, and it is reported that lion bones are selling for about $165 per kilo in South Africa and about $300-$500 at destination. The value of a lion skeleton could therefore be in excess of $10,000.
The use for lion bones
In China, lion bones are soaked for a variable period in rice wine, whereas in Laos and Vietnam the bones are made into a “paste” with added ingredients like herbs (some reports say opium is also mixed in). The paste is then also dissolved in rice wine. In traditional Chinese medicine, tiger wine, made using powdered bones, allegedly cures many ills including ulcers, cramp, rheumatism, stomach ache and malaria. The beverage is also claimed to have tonic qualities, boosting virility.
The director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Oduetse Koboto said some farmers colluded with foreign nationals to stage incidents of livestock predation in order to claim compensation from government. He states that “such perpetrators illegally killed and harvested certain parts from wild animals for illicit trade. They later surrender skins and other animal remains to the Department of Wildlife and National Parks to legitimise their claims for losses against predators.”
Trade is exploding and experts fear that as prices rise, even wild lions — with only 20,000 left in Africa — will come under poaching attack.
The Avaaz campaign
South Africa is currently the largest exporter of lion trophies, bones and organs — it is also the only African country actively breeding lions in large numbers to supply trophy hunting. But if we can show that allowing this senseless trade can hurt South Africa’s booming tourism industry and make visitors flee, President Zuma could be forced to act.
The global online Avaaz advocacy campaign that calls for South Africa to end the trade, announced this week that its campaign support had virtually surged overnight, mushrooming to a record new high of more than a million signatures. This firmly puts the heat on the South African government to end the much reviled canned lion hunting industry and clarify its national position on conservation.
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How can we help?
Join with Avaaz and stand up for Africa’s lions by signing the petition now: