South Africa has between 8,000 and 12,000 lions on about 350 farms where they are raised for hunting, tourism and academic research, according to estimates of wildlife groups. They are also bred for their bones, as these are used in medicine and jewelry in Southeast Asia.
Instead, according to the Endangered Wildlife Trust (which is based in South Africa) only 3,500 lions live in the wild in the country. The government’s decision has been applauded worldwide, especially by animal rights organizations such as World Animal Protection, who described the measure as courageous. “Thousands of farm lions are born into a life of misery in South Africa in cruel commercial farms,” argued Edith Kabesiime, a researcher at the World Animal Protection organization.
Without a doubt, this is a victory for wildlife which will ensure that lions belong where they belong, that is, in the wild.