Surprise Annoucement On Canned Lions In South Africa


Published: March - 2007

As this issue went to press, the South African hunting community was in shock over a surprise announcement by Environment Minister Marthinus Van Schalkwyk that captive lions in that nation will have to be released for a period of two years before they can be hunted. The general expectation was the obligatory release period would be set at six months. In fact, at least one game ranch in South Africa - Tam Farms, had already been officially granted permission to continue hunting lions released only six months.

The original version of this month's newsletter, which I had to tear up after the minister's speech was released, had this quote in it from Jaap Pienaar, Head of Special Investigations Unit, Department of Economic Affairs, Environment and Tourism, Eastern Cape Province: Mr. Tam's farm was used as a test case in the development of a free-roaming lion farm criteria, according to the latest draft Norms and Standards on the management of large predators. Mr. Tam has an approved management plan, which includes the hunting of lions on his game farm operation. After all the changes made to the new draft Norms and Standards, Mr. Tam is still conforming to it.

We immediately called Irvin Tam and asked him what was going on. I am assuming my facility has been approved for five years, he told me, noting that he had booked clients on the way this spring. He preferred to make no further comment.

If enacted, the two-year release requirement indeed amounts to a virtual ban on canned-lion hunting, as it is impossible to imagine a commercially viable way to keep lions in a wild-like state for that period of time. What's surprising is, talk in recent weeks had all been about a compromise on this issue. In fact, the original version of this month's issue was headlined, Is A Compromise Coming On Canned Lions? So, what happened?

One theory making the rounds is, Van Schalkwyk is laying the groundwork for a compromise with the anti-hunting community. By technically allowing the........(continued)

 
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