Chris Mercer with the Campaign Against Canned Hunting gives us the real story about lion trophy imports despite CITES and EU reports.
Today we shared a story via Twitter regarding the EU banning the importation of lion trophies. Well, unfortunately it appears that this is not really good news.
UPDATE: Since publishing this post Chris Macsween, Trustee/Director with LionAid spoke up in favor of the EUs work to save lions…. please see the COMMENTS below.
CITES AND THE NEW EU PERMIT SYSTEM – YAWN.
Why does the mainstream media publish official announcements so un-critically?
And confuse intentions with results?
Despite what you have read about the EU ‘cracking down’ on lion trophy imports, in fact this is just a meaningless layer of bureaucracy. Talk to good CITES officials (there are some!) and they’ll tell you that all they do when a hunter wants to import a lion trophy is to refer the request to ‘Scientific Services.’ This august body will throw the request back at them saying ‘issue the import permit because there is no evidence that canned lion hunting in SA is adversely impacting wild lion populations.’
So nothing will change. Mainstream media yet again fail to get the true story.
So what is the true story?
‘Scientific authorities’ apparently refuse to recognise evidence which is not contained in a ‘scientific’ paper published by a ‘recognised’ scientific researcher.
To my mind, this sacrifices common sense to dogma. Deliberately blinding oneself to important information, just because it is ‘anecdotal’ seems to be the very opposite of what open-minded intelligent scientific enquiry should be.
So read our case below, then decide for yourself whether or not there is ‘no evidence’ that SA lion farming is contributing to the plight of wild lions in Africa, who are, even ‘scientists’ accept, hurtling towards extinction.
1. The Tiger Comparison
Even CITES realised that the farming of tigers would cause the extinction of wild tigers. The whole history of CITES and tiger conservation is set out by Richard Hargreaves in his comprehensive article published in the Summer/Fall edition (2011) of the Journal of the Wildcat Conservation Legal Aid Society(WCCLAS):
a) That the tiger trade, being illegal, cannot be measured accurately;
b) That the effect of tiger farms on wild tigers could not be measured;
c) That farming would provide an opportunity for laundering wild specimens that would accelerate poaching;
d) That farming would distract from tackling loss of habitat, loss of prey species and other illicit activities.
Accordingly, in Decision 14.69 the COP adopted this regulation:
Parties with intensive operations breeding tigers on a commercial scale shall implement measures to restrict the captive population to a level supportive only to conserving wild tigers; tigers should not be bred for trade in their parts and derivatives.
So here is the question that screams for an answer: if CITES has banned tiger farming for trade, why has the farming of lions for commercial purposes not been banned? All the same considerations apply to both species.
2. Anecdotal evidence maybe, but a valuable glimpse in to the underworld of lion farming in South Africa. As CITES itself accepted in the case of the tigers, scientific research and measurement is not possible with illegal activities.
Whistle blowers have come forward to explain how they chase wild lion prides to exhaustion in the Kalahari, shoot the adults and capture the cubs for smuggling to SA lion farmers. Lion breeders require a constant supply of wild lions to prevent in-breeding and captivity depression.
Here is a report published in October 2013, in the leading daily newspaper in Botswana, Mmegi.
1. More smuggling.
We have been told by eyewitnesses, who do not wish to become involved, that some lion farmers fly their lions at night over the border in to Mozambique to be shot by canned hunters there on arrival. The trophy is then exported fraudulently as that of a wild Mozambique lion, in order to circumvent the Rowland Ward Trophy Book refusal to recognise trophies of captive bred lions.
This practice makes it appear that there are far more lions in Mozambique than there are, and will confuse policy makers in that country.
2. The Lion bone trade.
How much proof does CITES need that the exponential growth of the lion bone trade will cause an upsurge of poaching of wild lions. Even CITES knows that Chinese Traditional Medicine practitioners regard the bones of wild lions and tigers as being ‘more potent’ than those of captive bred ones. Join the dots, for Heaven’s sake, it really takes no imagination to forecast an upsurge in wild lion poaching as the lion bone trade escalates the price of the product.
Fortunately for conservation scientists, no imagination or common sense is needed here, because reputable documentary film maker Karl Ammann has done their work for them.
The South African government promotes, endorses and supports the canned hunting industry and nothing short of raising the status of lions to endangered and Appendix 1 of CITES will change that. And the hunting industry with its captured governments in SA and Tanzania, will never allow that while there is still one lion left to hunt.
That is the real story.
by Chris Mercer, CACH