SAPA’s Cynical PR Exercise Using Sylvester the Lion

The clumsy attempt by the South African Predator Association (SAPA) to try to gain some good ‘Public Relations’ regarding Sylvester, a lion that recently escaped Karoo National Park with an offer of “Relocation of Karoo lion and replacement with another lion” (see the SAPA’s offer statement in full below).


The SAPA’s Statement “Relocation of Karoo lion and replacement with another lion,” dated 30 March 2016

The SAPA needs some good PR after the SAPA President’s recent public statement, containing comments that could only have damaged the SAPA’s credibility outside of the hunting cartel.

After public protest, South African National Parks (SAN Parks) tranquilised and returned  Sylvester to a safe area after his recent escape from Karoo National Park. Genuinely concerned parties are now trying to negotiate Sylvester’s relocation to a suitable, legitimate conservation sanctuary (far from the grasp of SAPA’s members’ commercial and exploitative captive lion breeders ‘care’).

The Blood Lions Team believes it [SAPA’s PR exercise] to be a rather cynical and clumsy one at that and amounts to nothing more than SAPA placing their own private sector interests over that of public concerns.

The SAPA claims to have conservation credentials. But the SAPA’s President, Professor Pieter JJS Potgieter recently failed to cite a single example of any of SAPA’s captive-bred lion breeders successfully rehabilitating any captive lion into the wild. Instead,   Professor Pieter JJS Potgieter displayed a bewildering lack of understanding of ‘real-world’ lion dynamics, stating the release into the wild of a captive-lion is “easy” (when it is anything but easy).

The SAPA has offered to “replace” (exchange) Sylvester for a captive-bred lion from an SAPA accredited source – a source considered by many experts to offer genetically inferior captive-bred stock (no matter how many DNA profiles the SAPA might have). Why does SAPA want to “replace” Sylvester? Does an SAPA member already have a paying hunter lined up to turn Sylvester into a trophy in the name of ‘conservation’ perhaps?

In a recent statement released by the African Lion Working Group, the region’s largest collection of predator conservationists, they clearly said that “The estimated 8,000 lions in South Africa currently being maintained and bred on game farms as part of this industry should not be included in any assessments of the current status of wild lions” – Blood Lions

Let’s all hope and trust that those that can really offer Sylvester safe haven (SAN Parks and true conservationists) can successfully give Sylvester a life he deserves, a semi-wild existence in a sanctuary far from the hunters’ and poachers’ onslaught. And far from the SAPA’s ‘care.’

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