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Report: Captive lion reintroduction programs in Africa operate under 'conservation myth'
Date:7/31/2012

New York, NY - A new report published in the international conservation journal Oryx concludes that commercial 'wildlife encounter' operations across Africa promoting the reintroduction of captive lions do little to further the conservation of African lions in the wild.

Released 'Early Online' on July 31, 'Walking with lions: Why there is no role for captive-origin lions (Panthera leo) in species restoration,' was authored by a blue-ribbon panel of lion conservationists and wild cat biologists from Panthera, the IUCN Cat Specialist Group and a team of university-based lion researchers. Demonstrating that no lions have been successfully released as a result of this process, the report determines that commercial captive lion reintroduction programs operate largely under a 'conservation myth.'

The last two decades has seen a rapid growth of such operations especially across Southern Africa. Advertised as 'wildlife encounters,' the programs typically charge tourists and paying volunteers to pet, feed and walk with hand-raised and so-called tame lions. To the paying public, the stated objective is the eventual release to the wild of lions.

The Oryx paper assesses the potential of these programs to assist wild lion conservation by evaluating the role and suitability of captive lions for release. The report concludes that captive-bred lions are simply unnecessary for reintroduction projects. For more than two decades, wild lions have been translocated and rigorously monitored in over 40 parks across southern Africa with high success rates.
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Contact: Susie Weller
sweller@panthera.org
646-786-0417
Panthera
Source:Eurekalert  

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Report: Captive lion reintroduction programs in Africa operate under 'conservation myth'
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