Planning to domesticate a rhino or lion? You might want to know about these policy changes

New changes for trade & domesticating lions, rhino, elephant and leopard ahead: What you need to know


The Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has opened a draft policy focused on conservation and trade conditions of elephants, rhinos, leopards and lions for public comment.

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The draft policies propose “three conservation and sustainable use policy objectives to enhance species management”, and “three international commercial trade-related policy objectives”.

These are

  •  To end the captive keeping of lions for commercial purposes and close captive lion facilities, put a halt to the intensive breeding of lion in controlled environments, and end the commercial exploitation of captive and captive-bred lions.
  • To phase out the domestication and intensification of management of rhinoceros.
  • To enhance the conservation and sustainable use of leopard.
  • To promote live export of the five species only to range States or any other appropriate and acceptable destinations with suitable habitats on the African continent.
  • South Africa will work with range States to support a proposal for international commercial trade in rhinoceros horn from protected wild rhinoceros, for conservation purposes, when conditions become favourable.
  • Consider international commercial elephant ivory trade only when conditions become favourable.

Those wishing to comment on the proposed changes to legislation must do so within 30 days to Dr Tsepang Makholela, Private Bag X447, Pretoria, 0001; Environment House, 473 Steve Biko Street, Arcadia, Pretoria, 0001 or via e-mail.

Rhino and lion farms

Earlier this month, the world’s largest herd of privately-held rhino was sold to NGO African Parks.

ALSO READ: Hawks investigate R9m rhino horn stockpile theft

African Parks is active in 12 countries across Africa and manages 22 protected areas in partnership with local authorities.

The herd contains one in 15 of the world’s stock of surviving white rhino.

Additional reporting by Hein Kaiser

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