Lord Ashcroft makes a call to ban the ‘barbaric’ import of captive lion trophies.
Following a year-long investigation into lion farming in South Africa, a recent article by Lord Ashcroft (former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party) claims that lions are being bred en mass to be slaughtered for medicine and trinkets in the far east.
In just 20 years, lion populations have fallen by 43% and only 20,000 remain in the wild. But why has the ‘king of the jungle’ suddenly come under threat and how is this related to tigers?
For hundreds of years, tiger parts and their derivatives have been used in traditional Asian medicines for the belief they cure disease and replenish the body’s ‘essential energy’.
This demand has driven a 96% decline in tiger populations in just 100 years and has motivated consumers and criminal syndicates to turn their attention to lions as a viable alternative.
The investigation concluded that in the space of just two days, “54 lions were killed in a single slaughterhouse, so that their bones could be harvested and sent to companies who want to use them in traditional Asian medicine.”
The legal market of lion bones and skeletons to Asia from South Africa, who’s quota was almost doubled last year, creates a prime opportunity for illegally obtained tiger parts to be laundered into a legal market, condoning consumptive use in Asia. This undermines efforts to change behaviours and reduce consumptive demand for disproved traditional medicines and continues to threaten wild lion and tiger populations across their natural habitats.
If we are to protect the remaining wild tiger and lion populations, we must debunk the myth that animal parts hold medicinal value, otherwise we will see the extinction of tigers within our lifetime.
Sign up to TigerTime below and help us protect tigers in the wild.