Earlier this month, the NSPCA was contacted by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) regarding the illegal possession and captivity of three lions at a property in Randfontein. The NSPCA and the Randwest SPCA carried out an inspection at the property shortly thereafter, and a case was opened by GDARD for the illegal possession of the lions which is a contravention of the National Environmental Biodiversity Act and the relevant Threatened or Protected Species regulations. Upon being found guilty, the accused faces a penalty of imprisonment, a fine of up to R10 Million, or both.

The keeping of any wild animal in captivity results in the welfare of that animal being compromised. Wild animals removed from captivity should be afforded the opportunity to either be released safely back into the wild or, in cases where that is not possible, they should be placed into the care of an accredited sanctuary that does not exploit the animals by allowing public interaction. The NSPCA arranged for the three lions to be moved to the Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary, which is an NSPCA accredited facility.

The Aspinall Foundation also provided vital assistance in terms of funding and veterinary services required for the transfer.

On the 22nd of March 2023, in a joint operation between the NSPCA, Randwest SPCA, Isindile Big Cat and Predator Sanctuary and GDARD, the three lions were successfully darted, captured and moved from their illegal confinement to the sanctuary. Dr. Peter Caldwell, a wildlife specialist veterinarian, performed a basic health check on each lion, and also microchipped, vaccinated, and dewormed them before their departure.

The NSPCA strongly opposes the keeping of wildlife in captivity and holds the firm view that wild animals belong in the wild. The NSPCA’s mission is to prevent animal cruelty in all its forms, and this includes advocating for wildlife and combating the cruelty they are so often subjected to.

The NSPCA is not a government-funded organisation and relies solely on the support of the public to continue our work. Please consider making a donation to the NSPCA to contribute to the protection of all animals.

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