A committee whose mandate is to oversee the breeding and keeping of lions in captivity has been formed. The committee was formed at a meeting held recently at Parks and Wildlife Management Authority head office. The objective of the meeting was to define the breeding and keeping of lions, to identify and discuss issues related to the breeding and keeping of lions in captivity and also chat the way forward among other issues related to the lions.
During the meeting reasons for breeding and keeping of lions varied from commercial,educational,research,rehabilitation and other simply keep or breed lions to use them as pets while some treat injured lions for further release into the wild. Concerns were however raised during the meeting and these include lack of policy and legislation on breeding of lions in captivity. The other issue is that there is no association that represents lion breeders and keepers and that there are excess mature lions in captivity and generally poor welfare of animals in captivity.
The lion population in the wild is estimated to be between 1 000 and 1 700 in Zimbabwe alone and about 20 00 in Africa. There are 349 lions in captivity and there are 25 properties with lions and only 7 are registered. Lions are in appendix 11 of CITES and are considered vulnerable by the International Union on Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The committee on the breeding and keeping of lions comprises of veterinarians, lion keepers, lion breeders, animal welfare organizations and Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.