Some will remember the poisoning and slaughter of two white lions at a private facility the other day. Regardless of how those lions were going to be commercially used by the farm, their slaughter raised many eyebrows. Why would the poachers target lions and remove their heads and paws unless there was a market?
Just recently three men were caught in the area attempting to sell two lion heads and eight paws – doubtless from the same lions that were poisoned.
We have noticed for some time that lions poisoned/killed in human/wildlife conflict incidents across Africa but especially Tanzania and Kenya are also missing their paws and teeth. Where is the market? We know that lion claws and teeth are sold as tourist items quite openly in Kenya local markets. We also know that lion claws and teeth are increasingly appearing in seized shipments of ivory on their way to China.
We all know that lion bones are increasing in value in Laos and Vietnam due to dubious value in so called “traditional Asian medicine” as replacements for tiger bones.
So this is the worrying trend. If more and more lion parts become commercially valuable, more and more lions will be poached.
Let’s all keep a keen eye on any illegal trade in lion parts. Lions are in enough trouble already via trophy hunting and human/wildlife conflict without the additional threat of commercial poaching?
Picture credit: Letaba Herald