According to a statement released by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the current quota for the lion bone trade has been reduced from 1,500 to 800 lion skeletons.
Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, in a statement dated December 3, announced that the amended lion bone trade quota is now back to what it was in 2017. This amended quota is a reversal of the increase to 1,800 skeletons announced in July 2018.
The statement said that “taking into account the current compliance inspections of lion captive breeding facilities being conducted throughout the country, there is a need to harmonise sustainable use with strictly controlled legal international trade and monitoring … The maintenance of the 2017 quota will allow the Department to reflect on effectiveness of the implementation of the quota, enhance compliance and monitoring systems, and further allow the High-level panel being appointed to incorporate these issues into their work”.
According to research by South African authorities, there are 3,500 African lions in the wild in South Africa, and approximately 7,000 lions in 260 captive breeding facilities. Lion are bred in captivity for hunting, the lion bone industry and the tourism products of cub petting and walking with young lions.