Days after The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) increased South Africa’s lion bone export quota from 800 to 1500 a year, two male lions were found dead between Phabeni Gate and Numbi Gate.
The two male lions were found dead and the cause of death was the use of snares by poachers. These two males were know as the Shabeni lions.
These two lions had established their territories and had a pride and some new cubs. Now the cubs are placed in a dangerous position because when new males try take over this pride and there is no male lions present, they will kill the cubs, the male lions do this to bring the lioness back in estrous, and the females can carry their offspring.
Male lions killing other lions cubs occasionally occurs in nature but when this occurs due to poachers, it makes it tragic.
Locals from rural areas in South Africa turn to poaching due to the lack of access to employment and opportunities in their villages. Local poachers set up snares to trap antelopes, unfortunately a lot of the time animals such as wild dogs, leopard and lions, get caught in these snares.
Read about the lioness that got caught in a snare at the Kruger National Park here.
The poachers who killed these lions can easily try sell the lion bone to the underground black market.
South Africa is one the largest exporter of lion bones to mainly Vietnam, Lao PDR and Thailand. The bones are mainly used for fake tiger bone wine, which some people believe to be a health drink.
According to “Extinction Business” (you can read the report here) contrary to what the South African government says, lion bone trade is not simply a by-product of the canned trophy hunting industry. Big cats are being commercially bred for their bones.
The Presidency website was down on Thursday evening as a hacker seemingly claimed responsibility on Twitter and said the attack was linked to the lion bone trade. Hacker @VirusSec posted a photo of the website homepage along with the words “Greed has taken over the African presidency long ago” and hashtag #OpFunKill, which seemed to be linked to a campaign which aimed to protest against the killing of animals.