Reaction to lion cub found in Cape Town

Curb the occurrence in the Western Cape, says FOUR PAWS.


A lion cub was found in an Athlone home this week.

What protocol does the department have with regards to people owning endanger species.

The responsibility to enforce the NEMBA TOPS regulations devolves down to provincial level and the nature conservation authority in the Western Cape is CapeNature. Under our provincial legislation “no private person may keep a carnivore as a pet in captivity”.

What should happen to the people found with such species?

It all depends on the offence committed, whether it for example involves animal welfare issues or the keeping of carnivores without the required permits and enclosure requirements. However, we believe that examples need to be set to curb these atrocities from becoming regular occurrences in the Western Cape.

The purpose of keeping a cub

We would like to commend the SAPS for their contribution to enforcing the law and getting the lion cub to a place of safety. The bust by the authorities places a spotlight, yet again, on the industry that exploits big cats for commercial gain. The cub might have been destined to serve multiple purposes: private keeping, gaining money from cub petting activities and later reselling the young lion to a breeding facility. There are between 8,000 and 10,000 lions in captivity specifically bred for these purposes. The first part of the lifecycle would be cub petting and then other forms of interaction.

If it was indeed the case to exploit this cub in interaction activities, it’s important to know that they need to sleep for almost 20 hours per day. To generate a substantial amount of money, they would need to be active for public interaction between 8 and 10 hours a day – which causes severe stress on their development. The cub could also struggle with his health later in life due to not getting proper nutrition in the early development stages.

Sadly, the state of the commercial lion trade puts a definite price on the head of this young cub: either for its bone or for a hunt

The big cat scam 

South Africa has more than 300 captive wildlife facilities that breed and keep an estimated 10,000-12,000 lions. 

Read more here

FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions. 

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