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Monday, 05 December 2016 13:59

Terminating the hunting of captive-bred lions (Panthera leo) and other predators and captive breeding for commercial, non-conservation purposes

Terminating the hunting of captive-bred lions (Panthera leo) and other predators and captive breeding for commercial, non-conservation purposes

- Issued by IUCN

NOTING the prohibition by the South African Government on the capture of wild lions for breeding or keeping in captivity;

CONCERNED that the continued breeding of lions for the specific purpose of pseudo-hunts, also referred to as 'canned lion hunting' or 'canned lion shooting', by sectors of the wildlife ranching industry in South Africa under the guise of sustainable utilisation has escalated;

FURTHER CONCERNED by the limited scope of legal options by the South African Government to terminate 'canned lion shooting';

AWARE that most lion hunts in South Africa are conducted in enclosed areas or using captive-bred lions;

MINDFUL that professional hunting associations within South Africa and internationally oppose the practice known as 'canned shooting', where the animal is physically unable to escape from a restricted enclosure and/or is captive bred and mentally disinclined to escape due to humanisation as a result of hand-rearing, petting of young animals and close human contact in captive facilities;

NOTING that the great majority of hunters regard 'canned shooting' as an ethically repugnant embarrassment;

CONSIDERING that most South African captive lion breeding facilities do not conform to or comply with the standards of the Pan African Association of Zoos and Aquaria (PAAZA) or the World Association of Zoos and Aquaria (WAZA);

ACCEPTING the value of wildlife and wildlife ranching as a resource that may be utilised in a sustainable, legal and ethical manner, and which is of extreme importance for biodiversity conservation, tourism, and the gross domestic product of tourist destinations;

UNDERSTANDING that sustainable, legal and ethical hunting is a human activity, which generates income and supports human livelihoods in areas where other farming practices are less viable;

UNDERSTANDING that the threats to wild lions include: habitat fragmentation, lack of suitable habitat, human-carnivore conflict, snaring and poisoning; and

ACKNOWLEDGING that captive breeding of lions has not been identified as a conservation action in any African lion conservation planning programme;

The World Conservation Congress, at its session in Hawai‘i, United States of America, 1-10 September 2016:

1. REQUESTS the Director General and IUCN Commissions to encourage specifically the South African Government, as well as all other southern African Governments, to support this initiative by drafting and enacting legislation by 2020 and giving reasonable time frames to:

a. terminate the practice of breeding lions in captivity for the purpose of 'canned shooting' through a structured, time-bound process;

b. restrict captive breeding of lions to registered zoos or registered facilities whose documented mandate is as a recognised, registered conservation project;

c. develop norms and standards for the management of captive-bred lions in South Africa that address welfare, biodiversity and utilisation aspects, taking into account Threatened or Protected Species (ToPS) regulations, legislation and IUCN guidelines governing this activity; and 

d. legally prohibit the hunting of captive-bred lions under any conditions; and

2. REQUESTS the Director General and IUCN Commissions to:

a. take the necessary actions to provide the guidance, leadership, support and international lobbying that may be required by the South African Government to enact this Resolution; and

b. to encourage and provide support for other Member States in southern Africa to follow this initiative.