Rand, not lion, is the king

03 October 2016 - 08:42 By GRAEME HOSKEN

The government appears to have sold out the lion and caved in to multimillion-rand captive-breeding businesses. South African delegates, part of an international working group on the sidelines of the Cites conference to protect endangered species, have agreed to "annual export quotas for the trade in [lion] bones, bone products, claws, skeletons, skulls and teeth for commercial purposes derived from captive breeding operations in South Africa will be established and communicated annually to the Cites secretariat".The plan, which is detailed in an annexure to trade agreements around lions, will be voted on today.Wildlife rights bodies have been fighting to have lions listed as endangered, which would completely ban the trade in lions and their body parts.Animal rights activists lashed out at South Africa's delegation to Cites for agreeing to the annexure, which they said would result in canned lion hunting thriving in the country.Loraine Liebenberg of Save Our Rhino said: "The resolution that captive lion breeding should be opposed seems to have been forgotten."Thousands of people in South Africa are against the way the talks seem to be manipulated by the government."She said the country needed to remember that when important decisions were made a "pan-African" approach should be taken."Perhaps South Africa has forgotten that this very idea has been supported in decisions made by the African Union."Cites yesterday banned global trade in wild African grey parrots, prized for their ability to imitate human speech, to help counter a decline in numbers .During the past 25 years, more than 1.5 million wild African greys have been taken from their native habitats. - Additional reporting by Reuters

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