With an increase in the trade of lion bones to Asian countries, where it is used for perceived medicinal purposes, conservationists fear that lions could be the next of South Africa’s big five that will face rampant poaching in the near future. As South Africa desperately tries to stunt the rampant poaching of rhino, which is driven by an insatiable Asian demand for the perceived healing properties of their horn, another one of our Big Five has come under the radar. Suppliers looking to profit off the Eastern medicinal industry, have closed in on the lion.
Activists and lion breeders are again at odds over “canned” hunting – legal in SA – which some argue is no more unethical than farming chickens.
Desktop activists have joined conservationists to raise awareness about the growing demand for lion bones from users of traditional Chinese medicine, but breeders have defended the right to hunt lions born in captivity.