A National Embarrassment: South Africa sells bones to the East.

Last month our foundation manager and one of our directors made their way to South Africa’s parliament in Cape Town to attend a colloquium held to discuss the issues surrounding the captive lion breeding industry. The colloquium followed the shocking news that South Africa’s government had almost doubled the legal export quota of lion bones from 800 skeletons in 2017, to 1,500 skeletons in 2018. The event included presentations from various conservation groups, journalists, hunting organizations and tourism bodies. Disappointingly, the Minister of the Department of Environmental Affairs, with whom much of decision power rests, was out the door after a brief welcome needing to “attend an important event with the presidency.” After two long days of various parties bashing it out with their own respective facts and arguments, the issue of whether the captive lion breeding industry and the trade in lion bone is harming South Africa seemed to sit in the same two very polarized camps it always has.  

The Kevin Richardson Foundation is against cub-petting, canned lion hunting and the lion bone trade and supports a zero quota until such time that research supporting a quota is verified and the questions raised during the colloquium are met (answered?) , especially with regard to regulation and compliance within captive breeding farms and the consequences that should exist for non-compliance.

This will be an ongoing issue of importance for the foundation and we will be using whatever influence we can gather to help bring an end to this abhorrent trade. We welcome other organizations and people of influence to speak to us about how we can collaborate and unite our forces to fight this.