Nica Richards
Deputy online news editor
6 minute read
16 Jul 2020
6:36 pm

Wildlife panel secrecy leaves lions in limbo

Nica Richards

Conservation groups have accused the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries' high-level panel of bias, saying they're putting the lives of both the animals and workers at risk, and exposing them to possible diseases.

South Africa has a disproportionate captive versus wild lion population. There are currently an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 lions in captivity in more than 360 facilities throughout the country. This compared to around 3,000 wild lions left in South Africa. Photo: Colin Bell

It has been over nine months since a high-level panel (HLP) was formed by Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (Deff) minister Barbara Creecy, but since then the validity and efficacy of the panel has been brought into question, amid an extended call for public submissions on topics that are not being communicated.  The appointment of a 25-member panel, created as an advisory committee tasked with reviewing policies, legislation and practices relating to the mismanagement, breeding, hunting, trade and handling of elephant, rhino, lion and leopard, was gazetted in October 2019.  It sought to bring together a mixed bag of...