Skip to main content

On January 18th 2017, CITES held a member stakeholder feedback session, where South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) announced that it would seek an export quota for 2017 of 800 captive bred lion skeletons (bones).

This follows CITES CoP17 meeting of member states held in Johannesburg in September 2016, where it was decided that South Africa could possibly trade in lion bones, if it were proven to be none detrimental to wild lion populations. This decision was met with much disagreement and contempt from NGO’s, conservationists, scientists, economists and general public. It also followed the failure of the African Lion (Panthera Leo) being up-listed from CITES Appendix II to Appendix I, which would have afforded lions more protection under tighter CITES trade regulations.

Lion bone trade of lions bred in captivity by South Africa’s lion farming industry is legal under the current legislation governing trade of CITES Appendix II Endangered listed species, which includes the African Lion. It is also part of South Africa’s mass lion farming industry which currently sees approximately 8,000 lions in captivity and an estimated 2,400 – 3,600 lions bred every year.

Article: No Trust in South Africa’s Lion Farming and Lion Bone Trade

Captured In Africa Foundation categorically condemn the proposed quota by the DEA as having zero value to conservation, nor any scientific evidence to support such a trade from what is already an exploitative and out of control industry.

Furthermore, captive breeding of lions carries many off-shoots including captive lion hunting (aka canned hunting) and the hugely controversial and misleading cub petting tourism industry – whereby captive lion farmers externalise their costs of breeding by loaning and trading lions between facilities, who then offer lion cubs to tourists to interact with. A terrible industry where lions are subjected to being nothing more than a commodity to those profiteering from this destructive and abusive industry. The time to end this terrible industry is now.

The Department of Environmental Affairs issued a media release requesting public comment on their proposed export quota of lion bones. With submissions due by end of 2nd February 2017.

You can read Captured In Africa Foundation’s full written submission to the DEA below.

We must stop this.

How you can help

Send your thoughts on why you contest South Africa trading in lion bones to;

To: Mr Mpho Tjiane, Deputy Director: CITES Policy Development and Implementation, Biodiversity and Conservation, South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs



Sign our petition: CITES: Give Lions the Due & Proper Protection they Deserve

Links and further information

CITES Endangered Species Appendices

IUCN Red List of Endangered Species

US Fish & Wildlife Service Endangered Species Act Listing Protects Lions in Africa

Blood Lions: Canned Hunting Expose Documentary

Main image: An alleged member of the Xaysavang syndicate poses with a set of lion bones, supplied by Julian Rademeyer