Ending Commercial Lion Farming in South Africa: A Gap Analysis Approach
World Animal Protection 222 Gray’s Inn Rd., London WC1X 8HB, UK
Blood Lion NPC, P.O. Box 1554, Hermanus 7200, South Africa
Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, Tubney House, Abingdon Road, Tubney, Abingdon OX13 5QL, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Wayne Boardman and Anne-Lise Chaber
Received: 15 April 2021 / Revised: 4 June 2021 / Accepted: 5 June 2021 / Published: 8 June 2021
In South Africa, African lions (Panthera leo) are bred on farms for commercial purposes such as tourism, trophy hunting, and the international traditional medicine market. Despite its legal status, South Africa’s growing lion farming industry is a contentious issue. In 2020, a high-level panel was appointed to review the policies, legislation, and management of breeding, hunting, trade, and handling of four wildlife species, namely rhino, elephant, leopard, and lions. In May 2021, it was announced that the government will stop issuing permits to new entrants into this industry as well as the issuance of hunting permits and will start amending permit conditions to prohibit breeding and exclude tourism interactions with captive lions, effectively ending the lion farming industry. In order to follow this line of action, a comprehensive, well-managed plan will be required to ensure a responsible transition away from the current industry. Here, using a “gap analysis” management tool, we outline some of the key considerations necessary for a responsible, well-managed exit from the lion farming industry in South Africa. We compiled key background information about the current state of the industry and use this information to identify desired management states and specific steps that could facilitate a successful phase out of lion farming.