Wildlife

Captive-bred lions killed on South African farm for bones

The killing of dozens of lions on a South African farm last week has led to increased scrutiny of the country’s policy allowing the annual export of 800 skeletons of captive-bred lions to meet demand in Asia for bones.

The SPCA animal protection group in Bloemfontein is preparing to file a formal complaint alleging abuse by the farm’s owner and foreman, said Reinet Meyer, a senior inspector for the group. She said a total of 54 lions were killed at the farm over two days.

Meyer also said she saw two lions that had been kept in transport crates for several days, and described the conditions in which the lions were kept as “totally unacceptable.”

The killing of captive-bred lions is not illegal in South Africa if permits are in order. Conservationists, however, say enforcement of regulations governing the lion bone trade is weak and that the legal market could threaten Africa’s wild lions by spurring demand for skeletons.

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