Amanda Watson
News Editor
3 minute read
29 May 2017
5:00 am

Captive lion hunting still a no

Amanda Watson

President Stan Burger resigned and it was followed by the appointment of a new president, Dries van Coller.

Lion. Picture: Supplied

The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa’s (Phasa) condemnation of the hunting of captive-bred lions will not change along with its recent change in leadership.

Phasa’s statement followed the resignation of its president Stan Burger and the appointment of new president, Dries van Coller.

“The resolution is not under threat at all and stays in place,” Phasa spokesperson Retha van Reenen said yesterday.

PHASA’s 2015 resolution on the hunting of captive bred lions stated it distanced “itself from all captive-bred lion hunting and breeding until such time as the South African Predators Association (SAPA) can convince PHASA and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that captive-bred lion hunting is beneficial to lion conservation.”

In 2016, Phasa made another resolution that a sub-committee representing PHASA, SAPA and any other interested parties must find “a workable and acceptable solution, if any, for the lawful and acceptable utilisation of captive-bred lions.”

Van Reenen said Phasa, Sapa, the Limpopo Hunters Liaison Forum and the Department of Environmental Affairs were investigating possible solutions, as well as possibly revising existing norms and standards of the hunting of captive bred lions to improve the regulation of wild, wild managed and captive-bred lion hunting in South Africa.

“This is a work in progress. Nothing has been decided yet, but Phasa is adamant whatever is decided upon, must ultimately benefit the African lion and be in line with the aims and objectives of Phasa,” said Van Reenen.

Drew Abrahamson, founder of Captured in Africa, said canned hunting was a commercial industry which should be banned.

“It is this industry which has seen an increase in a need for genuine sanctuary homes for lions. This year we’ve relocated 7 lions, of which one was from a breeding farm and two were from Pretoria Zoo as the lion didn’t want to hunt,” said Abrahamson.

“I have two waiting at a wildlife vet which are embroiled in a court case and there’s been a few wild lion cases too.”

“Lion cubs hold a particular fascination for tourists and volunteers, who pay good money to pet, play, walk and care for them under the assumption that it is part of conservation efforts for lions or other big cats. In fact, what tourists and volunteers are really doing is taming these lions ready for a trophy collector in what is known as a captive lion hunt, aka canned hunting,” Abrahamson said.

Phasa ceo Tharia Unwin noted the DEA was also revising its biodiversity management plan for lion.

“Both Phasa and Sapa are part of the discussions with DEA, where we are going to look at release periods and size of area,” said Unwin.

According to Sapa, “… a hunting area of 1 000 hectares is considered as the smallest patch of real estate on which a lion should be hunted. Fixing a release period, i.e. the length of time in which the lion should be left to its own devices in the hunting area before it is considered to be something other than a canned animal, is proving more contentious. Currently this period is regulated by the respective provinces and stretches from four days in the Northwest to 90 days in the Free State.”

Unwin said research will be done through the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University which would then be given to DEA to assist in setting up the new norms and standards for lion.

“Then if it’s implemented on government level then there is no reason why the rogue elements cannot be controlled. Because it’s the rogue elements which our giving our country such a bad name as far as this is concerned.

For more news your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter.