|Cat Out of the Bag: Trophy Hunting Fuels African Lion Bone Trade in Asia
Posted by Adam Cruise of Conservation Action Trust in Cat Watch on August 5, 2015
the first full research report of its kind, the trophy hunting industry
in South Africa has been exposed as the main source of Asia’s rapidly
expanding lion bone trade. The implications are that thousands of lions
are being raised in South Africa to shot in cages, stoking a market for
lion bone medicine that ultimately threatens the last 2,300 wild lions
in the country.
African range lions have declined alarmingly
over the last several decades due to rampant poaching, trophy hunting
and habitat loss.
However, the report, which is jointly compiled
by WildCru, the same Oxford University Research Unit studying Cecil the
Lion before he was shot, and Traffic, an international wildlife
monitoring trade network administered by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), has noted that things could be
getting worse for lions.
In 2008 Asian traders began taking an
interest in Africa’s lions when the decline in tigers became acute.
Tiger wine, made using powdered bones, is a much sought-after elixir in
Asia. It allegedly cures a variety of ills and increases strength and
wellbeing. With the demise of tigers, lion bones are now filling the
gap with a sharp increase in lion products in the markets of Vietnam,
China and especially Laos.
The South African Department of
Environment (DEA) has raised concerns that the demand for lion bones
could potentially threaten South Africa’s 2,300 wild lions.