HSI/Africa urges department of environmental affairs to heed Parliament’s call to end captive lion breeding for trophy hunting and the bone trade
Human Society International - Africa
6 December 2018

HSI/Africa urges department of environmental affairs to heed Parliament’s call to end captive lion breeding for trophy hunting and the bone trade

CAPE TOWN (6 DECEMBER 2018) – In a press release dated 3rd December 2018, newly appointed Minister of Environmental Affairs, Honourable Mrs Mokonyane, confirmed that the agency will appoint a high-level panel to review policies and legislation on a number of matters related to elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros handling, management, breeding, hunting and trade. One of the panel’s mandates pertains to the captive lion breeding industry, and a need to “harmonise sustainable use with strictly controlled legal international trade and monitoring.”

The confirmation of this high-level panel appointment comes on the back of then Acting Minister Derek Hanekom’s announced intent to establish this panel in response to a report tabled by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs (PPCEA) after a two-day Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in August and the subsequent release of its report in November. The report called for a policy and legislative review of captive breeding of lions for trophy hunting and the lion bone trade with a “view of putting an end to this practice.” The Committee’s Chairman, Honourable Mohlopi Mapulane added that “It seems as if South Africa’s conservation reputation is being compromised by this practice which does not seem to benefit broader conservation but a small number of breeders without proper scientific or conservation basis.”

HSI-Africa’s Wildlife Director, Audrey Delsink, said: “The Department is out of sync with the Resolutions of the PPCEA, the South African public and even the trophy hunting industry in its continued propping up of the captive lion industry. We urge the Department to shut down this unethical industry profiting from animal cruelty, bogus medicinal tonics made from lion bones, and tourist scams.” 

Media Contacts:

HSI/Africa: Media and Communications Outreach Manager Leozette Roode, mobile +2771 360 1004, lroode@hsi.org  
HSI/UK: Director of International Media Wendy Higgins, mobile +44 (0) 7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org


  • A nationwide survey of South African citizens revealed an overwhelming public concern about the captive lion breeding industry, with a vast majority agreeing it is harmful to the country’s international reputation.
  • A report from the South African Institute of International Affairs, commissioned by HSI, states that the revenues generated by the lion cub petting and lion walking tourist attractions, while highly lucrative for these businesses, constitute only 1.85 percent of South Africa’s overall tourism industry, which is one of the biggest employers in the country.
  • In 2018, U.S pro-trophy hunting group Safari Club International announced that it will no longer allow the promotion or auctioning of hunts involving African lions bred and shot in captivity adding that canned hunting “has doubtful value to the conservation of lions in the wild.”
  • Other hunting organizations have also spoken out against trophy hunting of captive-bred lions including Dallas Safari Club, Boone and Crockett Club, Operators and Professional Hunter Associations of Africa and Namibia Professional Hunters Association.


Humane Society International and its partners together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organisations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals using science, advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org.