BARBARA JONES: ‘It is the most degrading and cruel of fates for the king of the jungle. Bred in captivity, lion cubs are torn from their mothers while still blind, a few days after birth. Growing up, they are petted as playthings for tourists until they are ready to be released into small enclosures where they will be shot and killed by wealthy trophy-hunters in what are known as ‘canned hunts’.
But then a final indignity is visited upon the dead lions: for the carcasses are sent to the Far East to meet the enormous demand for ‘medicines’, jewellery and even wine made from the remains. This has been the horrific destiny for 800 lions from South Africa this year alone – and it is entirely legal, as the government rubber-stamps export licences for the lucrative industry.
China’s insatiable demand is fuelling the trade in the lion bones, while shameful products from the callous trade are also on sale in other South East Asian countries including Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. There are about 8,000 captive-bred lions awaiting this fate on 200 ‘farms’ in South Africa – twice the number of lions roaming free in the wild in the nation’. SOURCE…