Image via Adobe Stock

Shock discovery: Mutilated bodies of eight lions found in North West

North West police are investigating a case of illegal hunting after eight lions were brutally killed in the vicinity of Swartruggens.


Image via Adobe Stock

North West police are currently investigating a case of illegal hunting after eight lions were killed in the most horrific manner at one of the lodges in the vicinity of Swartruggens.

According to the African News Agency (ANA), North West police spokesperson, Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said the case was opened at the Koster police station on Friday 3 January 2020. 

“It is alleged that the lions were found dead in the morning,” said Mokgwabone. 

“According to information received, snouts and paws were cut-off from the lions and taken,” he added. 

It was reported that the lions were poisoned but Mokgwabone said it is only a suspicion.

“The investigation is still ongoing so at this stage, it is only a suspicion because there were chicken carcasses found nearby. It cannot be confirmed now,” said Mokgwabone.

No one has been arrested at this stage.

NFA calls on the ban of canned lion hunting 

International Network for Animals (NFA) called on South African decision-makers to urgently address the legislative gaps around canned lion hunting in July 2019. 

“South Africa is considered the top destination for canned lion hunting and we urgently call for South African decision-makers to address the legislative gaps around this cruel practice,” NFA chief campaigner David Barritt said in the statement. 

Today, lions are still being brutally killed in illegal hunting incidents. 

A century ago, around 200 000 lions roamed the continent, and now there are a mere 25 000 left. At this rate by 2119, there may be none left.

About 200 facilities across South Africa breed them for canned hunting. As many as 6 000 lions are stockpiled for hunters, NFA said in a statement.

Trophy hunting 

Trophy hunting was big business in South Africa and according to BBC News, it was worth almost R1 billion rand in 2013.

“But this is generally understood to be for wild animals, not those bred in captivity just to be shot,” the BBC reported; then posing the question “Are lion hunters in South Africa shooting tame animals?” Barritt said.

“The clear answer to that is yes. When a lioness gives birth, her cubs are forcibly taken from her and used as a petting tool for tourists; who often pose and take photographs with them. When these tamed lions get bigger and harder to handle, they are moved to an enclosed area and stay there until someone pays to shoot them,” said Barritt.

“They can’t run, hide, or defend themselves in any way. These animals are frequently drugged to make it easier for hunters; who often shoot the creature while sitting in their nearby vehicles. In most cases, it takes several shots before the animal dies. And canned lion hunting is not the only danger lions face,” he went on to say. 

Barritt said that lions are being poached for their feet and bones to be exported to Asian countries and if left unchecked, it will wipe out the lion population in Africa.