Tourists Can’t Interact With Captive Lions in South Africa Anymore

A pride of lions
Photo by Brianna R. on Unsplash

The minister of South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment Barbara Creecy did a review of the country’s policies revolving around wildlife in October of 2019. The panel she formed has made some new rules and they include a ban on the captive breeding of lions, letting tourists interact with them, and selling lion parts.

On May 2nd, 2021, the minister shared a statement in which she announced that the captive lion industry “did not contribute to conservation and was doing damage to South Africa’s conservation and tourism reputation.” It’s now up to the parliament to turn the decision into law and it’s likely that will happen.

Captive lions around the world often live in inhumane conditions without proper care and nutrition. According to National Geographic, there are around 2,000 wild lions in South Africa and 6,000-8,000 lions in captivity in the country. 

Many tourists find it exciting to feed and pet lion cubs, but what looks cute on the outside comes with a big price. When the cubs grow up, they are often sold and killed. These practices are now being banned. The new law “will result in both protection and enhancement of South Africa’s international reputation, repositioning the country as an even more competitive destination of choice for ecotourism and responsible hunting,” as Creecy says.