Quenching a thirst for lion bones
On the back of the illegal rhino horn trade, Asian suppliers have begun sourcing a replacement for tigers, namely lions or rather their bones.
The trade in rhino horn to Asian countries has opened an avenue for the sale of lion carcasses—their bones are being used to replace those of tigers in the making of traditional Eastern wines.
Conservationists say the trade, which has taken off since 2009, has added to the pressures that have caused Africa’s lion populations to crash from about 200 000 in the 1970s to less than 20 000 today. In some range states in West and Central Africa, lions have recently been declared extinct.
Official records show that South Africa exported 418 lion carcasses to Vietnam and Laos from 2009 to 2010. Figures for the illegal trade and more recent exports were not available.