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

Multimedia

Audio
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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid