South Africa’s unregulated captive lion breeding industry will shortly be reviewed by the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs in a two day hearing open to the public.
Committee chairperson, Mohlopi Mapulane, said the event would facilitate a constructive debate around the future of captive lion breeding and hunting in SA. It would be held on August 21 and 22.
“We will give stakeholders across the board an opportunity to present arguments for and against captive breeding of lions. There is an outcry, and we must find a way to address it as soon as possible,” said Mapulane. “What is worrying is how this issue is affecting SA’s standing internationally. We cannot allow [captive lion breeding] to blemish our internationally acclaimed wildlife and conservation record.”
A report published by UK-based Born Free Foundation in March backs up Mapulane’s fears over SA’s waning reputation as an international wildlife and conservation pioneer, illustrating how the captive breeding of lions for hunting and their bones has detracted from SA’s conservation status.
Mapulane says the portfolio committee would “put a spotlight on the [captive breeding] practice, to better understand the different views”. Following the discussions, the committee would decide whether to review and/or amend legislation, or whether they would have to initiate new legislation through parliament.
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He said the portfolio committee specifically asked that the recent EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading report, The Extinction Business – South Africa’s ‘Lion’ Bone Trade, be presented at the gathering. “Some people will argue that it has been compiled by researchers who are against sustainable use. But for us, as parliamentarians, it is important to get that info, so we’re able to make up our minds about this practice.”
The report examines and investigates substantial problems and loopholes in the CITES permitting, enforcement and oversight system, and demonstrates the failings of South Africa’s national policies and procedures. There have been pleas to formulate policies and better regulate the industry for years, without avail.
No national consensus can even be found on the number of captive-bred lions in the country. Experts conservatively estimate around 8 000 African lions in cages, but considering the unnaturally high breeding rate to produce more cubs, for petting, it is likely that the figure is closer to 12 000. The South African Predator Association even suspects the figure to be as high as 14 000.
On 16 July this year, the Department of Environmental Affairs announced an increase in the lion skeleton export quota from 800 to 1500 skeletons, citing a growing stockpile of lion bones, an increase in poaching of captive bred lions for body parts as well as increased pressure on breeders due to the US’ restrictions on importing captive-bred trophies.
Conservationists warn that this latest spin-off from the industry, exporting lion bones from captive-bred animals, may be an even bigger driver for captive lion breeding in the country. According to Ian Michler‚ consultant and campaign co-leader to Blood Lions‚ “it is possible that canned hunting will become a by-product of the bone industry”.
The department’s decision to almost double the annual lion bone export quota baffled conservation authorities, who argue that there is not even enough scientific data to back an export of 800 skeletons, let alone 1500.
There are also increasing concerns over the possible impact of captive lion breeding on SA’s wild lion populations. Dr Kelly Marnewick‚ Senior Trade Officer for the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Wildlife in Trade Programme, said: “The poaching of wild lions for body parts has escalated in recent years and we cannot rule out a link to the market created for lion bones from captive breeding institutions”.
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Nigeria: Woman arrested over Outrageous Viral video of her abusing a child
Police in Nigeria’s commercial hub of Lagos have arrested a woman filmed abusing a child and then locking him in a caged kennel with dogs.
It is not clear when the footage was shot, but it went viral on Twitter earlier this month.
In the video clip, a woman is seen beating a boy, stripped to his waist, with a belt. She then drags him into an empty kennel and locks it before walking away. Two dogs can be seen in other neighbouring kennels.
The video caused outrage on social media, where shocked users offered rewards to anyone that could track down the woman.
On Thursday, a police spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, tweeted that the woman in the video had been arrested.
“The suspect is in custody and will be charged to court… The boy, who happens to be an orphan, has been rescued and kept in a shelter provided by Lagos state government,” she said.
Her tweet links to a video filmed by police showing the dog kennels where the boy was locked up:
Nigeria: Imo recovery team storms Okorocha’s premises, recover alleged looted state property
Okorocha Faults Action
Imo State Recovery of Moveable Assets Committee, yesterday, stormed a premises belonging to the immediate past governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha, where it discovered properties suspected to be that of the State Government, but allegedly parked in the premises known as All In Warehouse, located on Aba Road, Owerri.
But the Commissioner of Police, Rabiu Ladodo, who arrived the scene laced with crowd, directed that the property should be put in custody of the police. Some of the items included furniture, clothing materials and others.
The chairman of the committee, Ndubuaku, said the committee received credible intelligence information that led to them to storm the premises. He pronounced sealing of the place, directing that nobody, including the Okorochas, should enter the premises till further notice. Ndubuaku said the committee would ensure that all the State Government property illegally stolen were recovered.
But Okorocha, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser (Media), Sam Onwueneodo, described the action of the State Government as unjustifiable.
“This is to inform all men and women of goodwill, that barely two days after the agents of the Economic & Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, had marked the ALL – IN SHOP owned by the wife of the former governor, Dr. Mrs. Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha, located at Naze near Owerri, for investigation also following flood of petitions written to the Commission by PDP government in the State, the leader and members of the government’s Committee on the Recovery of Government Property invaded the shop today (yesterday) July 26, 2019, and looted the goods there, including the ones inside the containers inside the premises.
“We had told all those, who cared to hear us, that the PDP government in the State is out for witch-hunting just to intimidate Opponents, otherwise why invading and looting a Shop with furniture and baby goods, already marked for investigation by the EFCC.
“And the Containers they looted have been in the premises of the shop before the EFCC agents came and marked the Shop for investigation last Tuesday; they are still there before the Jasper Ndubuaku-led gang invaded the place. The question now is, what if at the end of the day, the EFCC’s investigation establishes that this shop has no relationship with the last administration?
“Obviously, Jasper Ndubuka and his gang are not recovering any property but are on looting spree. They were the ones, who petitioned to EFCC and they came and marked the investments they had mentioned in their petitions for investigation. Then, why going to loot the same establishments marked by EFCC for investigation? If Governor Ihedioha had asked question and if he meant well, he would not have entrusted such sensitive task into the hands of a man like Jasper Ndubuaku.
“Nigerians should watch closely the brigandage going on in Imo. Leaders and members of the so-called Government’s Property Recovery Committee are just having the licence to loot with the protection of the State Government. Otherwise, why won’t they allow the EFCC to conclude their investigation?”
“We have been shouting for the world to hear our voice. Aside their inviting the EFCC, we have asked them to publish whatever they have against Rochas Okorocha and the family or anybody that served in the Rescue Mission government, but they have not been forthcoming. The implication of all these is that, where restraint is not applied and the governor cannot control the recklessness, self-help may be the last resort; nobody should be blamed.”