South Africa’s legal lion bone trade pushes the last few tigers in the world towards extinction | GBRI

The already sparse tiger population in the world is dwindling further due to poaching to meet the high demand in Asia for their parts and derivatives. This demand is exacerbated by the legal trade in lion bone. In South Africa, it is legal to export up to 800 lion skeletons a year—as long as the lions were sourced from captive breeding facilities in South Africa.

Any quota for a trade in captive-bred lions is of major concern. Not only does it negatively impact wild lion populations but it also has adverse impact on other large big cat species, especially the endangered tiger.

Tigers and lions are being commercially bred in South Africa. In 2015, there were a known 44 facilities with at least 280 tigers being bred for trophy hunting and trade. Exports of lion parts from South Africa undermines enforcement efforts to end illegal tiger trade since without DNA analysis it is very difficult to distinguish between tiger and lion bone, teeth and claws.

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