News / Africa

Lion Bones Used for Phony Aphrodisiacs

A male white lion resident on Pumba game park in South Africa’s Eastern Cape regionA male white lion resident on Pumba game park in South Africa’s Eastern Cape region
x
A male white lion resident on Pumba game park in South Africa’s Eastern Cape region
A male white lion resident on Pumba game park in South Africa’s Eastern Cape region
Joe DeCapua
A new ad campaign is underway in South Africa to stop the country’s lion bone trade. Lions are killed so their bones can be used to make fake aphrodisiacs and traditional medicines. The demand for the bones is growing in Asia as tigers become scarce.



The campaign’s been launched by Avaaz – a group describing itself as a global web movement, whose name means “voice” in several languages.

The ads can be found in Johannesburg Airport’s International Arrival Hall, the inflight magazine aboard South African Airways and on Google. They’re aimed at stopping what’s known as canned hunting. Lions are born and raised on game farms for the sole purpose of being hunted. Some reports say hunters pay as much as $20,000 to do so.

Ads opposing the lion bone trade posted at Johannesburg airport. (Avaaz)Ads opposing the lion bone trade posted at Johannesburg airport. (Avaaz)
x
Ads opposing the lion bone trade posted at Johannesburg airport. (Avaaz)
Ads opposing the lion bone trade posted at Johannesburg airport. (Avaaz)
“South Africa’s lions are being decimated. Trade is exploding right now and experts fear that even wild lions, with only 20,000 left in Africa, are starting to come under poaching attack. This horrific trade could harm South Africa’s tourist industry and its reputation as a wildlife haven unless President Zuma steps in right now to ban the lion bone trade,” said Jamie Choi, Avaaz’s Campaign Director.

Tiger and rhino populations have been hit very hard by poachers seeking to sell bones, horns and hides to the Asian market. Choi said lions are next in line.

“Lion bones are currently used as substitutes for tiger bones, and they’re used to make products like tiger bone wine, which is very popular among wealthy consumers in countries like Vietnam and China. These products are wrongfully believed to be good for arthritis and rheumatism, but also a lot of people carry the superstitious belief that it boosts the sex drive,” she said.

In May, South Africa’s Environment Minister Edna Molewa rejected calls to ban the lion bone trade and said she did not believe it put lions in the wild in danger.

Choi said the new ads are phase two of a global campaign.

“[On] June 27, we launched a global petition campaign urging President Zuma to stop this lion bone trade. And within one month’s time we had over 700,000 people around the world sign this petition. However, we did not receive a response from the environment minister or President Zuma’s office. So we decided to launch a second phase of this campaign to shed light [on] what is happening to the lions of South Africa,” he said.

Not everyone views the issue as cut and dried. Researchers at the University of Pretoria and Sweet Briar College in the U.S. state of Virginia looked into the controversy. Their study said, “The captive-bred lion hunting industry in South Africa has grown rapidly, while the number of wild lions hunted in other African countries has declined.”

They also said that “If captive-bred lion hunting were ever prohibited, a transfer of demand to wild lion hunts could lead to elevated off-takes with negative impacts on wild populations.”

The researchers added, “If there are any future efforts to control the captive-bred lion hunting industry, decision-makers should take cognizance of the potential for increased demand for wild lion trophies and implement steps to prevent excessive harvests. Such steps should include tight restrictions on sustainable harvests, age restrictions on lion trophies, and in South Africa, consideration of implementing buffer zones around parks in which lion hunting is prohibited or strictly controlled.”

The researchers said, however, that further research is “urgently required” to identify potential risks for lion conservation.

You May Like

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

1 Billion People Used Facebook on Single Day

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the accomplishment in a posting on the social media site More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs