Ban the commercial trade of big cats in South Africa

South Africa is intensively farming and commercially trading big cats. Big cats are being traded both legally and illegally, fuelling a global market for traditional Asian medicine products and so-called luxury items. This is leading to a crisis for big cats and contributing to a global biodiversity crisis.

We are campaigning to stop the farming of all big cats and to ban all commercial trade of big cats and their parts from, within and to South Africa. But we need your help. Please add your name to our petition now! 

South Africa is farming numerous big cat species for a commercial international trade and is one of the biggest exporters of big cats and their parts to Asia. The illegal wildlife trade is the fourth largest criminal activity in the world, and it is being fuelled by the trade in big cat products from South Africa. This is driving consumer demand, largely from Asia.  

Join the campaign by adding your name to our petition.

All big cats need protection

South Africa has recently announced its plans to immediately halt the domestication and exploitation of lions, and close captive lion facilities. While this is a positive step from Environment Minister Barbara Creecy, it is not enough. There are other big cat species in South Africa, native and exotic, that are being exploited and whose populations are at risk across the globe. All big cat trade is connected. FOUR PAWS will be closely monitoring South Africa’s Environment Ministry legislative process in the coming years and advocate to include all big cat species in the new policy.

A growing industry exploiting the world’s most iconic wild animals

The exploitation of big cats in South Africa continues to grow and includes not only indigenous species such as lions and leopards, but also exotic species like tigers and jaguars. It’s estimated that 12,000 lions and 1,500 tigers are being intensively farmed in captive facilities across South Africa. The demand for big cats has meant they are now intensively bred and commercially traded in vast numbers across the globe:

• Legally: the commercial trade means they can be bred in captivity and exploited for profit (for interactions, kept as pets, trophy hunting or for entertainment)

• Illegally: South Africa is contributing to an illegal trade by supplying live animals to breeding farms in Asia and trading parts for traditional medicines

South Africa’s role in the global big cat trade

South Africa is farming numerous big cat species for the commercial international trade and is one of the biggest exporters of big cats and their parts to Asia. The illegal wildlife trade is the fourth largest criminal activity in the world, and it is being fueled by the trade in big cat products from South Africa. This is driving consumer demand, largely from Asia, for their parts.

Business in the age of mass extinction.

Due to direct human influence, four (lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar) out of the five big cat species are facing unprecedented issues that are not only defined as an animal welfare crisis but are also contributing to the decline of the species in the wild. Using breeding and trade as an excuse for conservation is extinction by another means.