Everyone has heard of the Rhino poaching dilemma in South Africa. At the time of updating this website, 635 rhino had been slaughtered in SA.
This is to supply an insatiable demand from the Far East and especially countries like Laos, Vietnam and China.
And we all know that consuming rhino horn is as medicinal as chewing on your big toe nail, yet there seems to be an increasing demand as the middle income groups become wealthier and possessing Rhino horn is deemed to be a status symbol.
Having said this rhino numbers in South Africa seem to be in the region of around 25 000+ and are still showing a slight positive growth rate although its reaching or has reached tipping point. Recently white rhino have been up listed by the US Fishery and Wildlife Service to Appendix 1 which essentially will curb the import of any rhino or rhino product into the States.
By comparison, lions are thought by some scientists to be as few as 15000 and by others 25000, and that’s in Africa!
Just like rhino horn there is a developing demand for lion bones in the Far East, which is again used medicinally in lion bone wine, a substitute for tiger bone wine. Or in some cases labeled as tiger bone wine.
And here is where the line between captive lions and wild lions starts to blur. It’s completely legal to sell the bones from a lion. Most are being harvested as a by-product from the ‘Canned Lion Hunting’ - however how would one know.
If I poach a wild lion; how can you determine it was not captive and vise versa.
The lion bone trade if left to its own devices lends itself to increasing the pressure on an already under pressure population of lions in Africa and doesn’t just impact captive populations as most pro selling of lion bone organizations would have you believe.
The simple truth is that we don’t know the exact impact; however we do know that already there is a fair amount of lions being smuggled from the wild into captivity which is highly illegal. However it is done to mitigate the consequences of captivity depression and also potentially to bring in to the market wild lion bones which are believed to be more potent.
Unlike rhinos, wild lions face other external pressures including retaliatory killings especially the farther north we go where protected areas are unfenced, prey base depletion, suitable habitat loss and therefore isolation which leads to genetic isolation and inbreeding and unsustainable trophy hunting; and lets face it with numbers hovering around 15000, lions should not be trophy hunted but rather protected and up listed on CITES from Appendix 2 to 1 like other endangered species!.