Lions suffer at SA breeding facility

Over 100 lions, tigers, leopards, and caracals were found living in horrific conditions at a breeding facility called Pienika Farm in the North West province. The animals were discovered as a result of an anonymous tip received by a local journalist, who reached out to the National Council for Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).

According to National Geographic, 27 of the lions had mange. Approximately three cubs were suffering from a neurological disease called meningoencephalitis, causing inflammation of the brain and leaving the cubs unable to walk.

One of the cubs was euthanised onsite by a vet due to how serious its condition was. The other two cubs were taken to a facility to receive immediate medical treatment.

NSPCA senior inspector Douglas Wolhuter told Business Insider that ‘other issues such as small enclosures and inadequate shelter, no provision of water, overcrowding, and filthy and parasitic conditions were noted in the camps that contained the lions, caracals, tigers, and leopards.’

The caracals were suffering from obesity, and weren’t able to groom themselves.

‘It is deplorable that any animal would be forced to live in such conditions, with such medical ailments. The fact that these are wild animals that are already living unnatural lives in confinement for the purposes of trade just makes it more horrific,’ said Wolhuter in a statement.

Owner of Pienika Farm Jan Steinman has had criminal charges laid against him by the NSPCA. Steinman is listed as a council member for the South African Predator Association (SAPA). The organisation monitors and manages the sustainable breeding of predators in South Africa.

The conditions at Pienika Farm, where predators are kept for trophy hunting and the lion bone trade, were not only in breach of national legislation on animal welfare, but also several SAPA regulations, including those on animal welfare, husbandry of lions for hunting, minimum enclosure size, and the trade of lion products.

Image source: Conservation Action Trust

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