Experts Alarmed as South Africa Doubles Lion Bone Export

Lions, already in decline throughout Africa, face a new threat: growing demand for their body parts, including bones, teeth, and claws. These are sought after for use in traditional medicines and trinkets, mostly in Southeast Asia.

Though it’s illegal to poach these big cats, and international trade in lion parts is mostly prohibited, South Africa has legalized the export of skeletons from captive facilities where lions are bred and raised. Multiple reports on that industry have pointed to terrible conditions in such captive facillities. In many cases these businesses also allow customers to pay for the opportunity to kill lions in so-called “canned hunts,” with the option of taking the head or skin as a trophy.

On July 16, South Africa announced that it would nearly double the…

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