Many conservationists are becoming increasingly alarmed about a spate of controversial proposals by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa they feel could jeopardise attempts to conserve the Big Five animals. Over the past two months Molewa has published draft regulations which, if approved, would allow the export of 800 lion skeletons annually, reopen trade in rhino horn and reverse a moratorium on leopard hunting. There is also widespread alarm over the government’s decision to shoot hundreds of buffalo in the Kruger National Park to provide meat for impoverished communities. In January the government proposed an export quota of 800 captive-bred lion skeletons, despite the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recommending that SA shut down its lion-breeding industry, which experts say is unethical and has no value to lion conservation. In February, less than a month after confirming it was extending its ban on leopard hunting for another year to aid the recove...

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