Friday, 20 January 2012

Lion Cubs Rescued from Smugglers

There was an article that I read on News24 today that I feel that I have to comment on. Yesterday morning in Kimberley, two lion cubs were rescued by the police from three men who had presumably smuggled the cubs over the Botswana border. The cubs, one male and one female, were only two months old and no one is certain what has happened to their mother. They have been examined by a local vet, who said that the cubs are very weak due to exposure from rain. The three suspects’ court date is set for Monday, where they will be charged with “the illegal importation and possession of protected animals without the necessary permits”.

When I hear stories such as this one, I get very mixed emotions. My initial reaction is, of course, anger. Being a great animal lover and a total softie when it comes to anything with four legs and fur, I just cannot understand how some humans can think of treating animals in this way. I realise that the blackmarket value of the cubs (estimated at 
R500 000) has a lot to do with it, but this still doesn’t explain how anyone can be heartless enough to separate two cubs from their mother and sell them off as commodities.

But on the other hand, I also feel hopeful that our country is recognising that these sorts of practices are occurring, and that something is being done about them. The police were tipped off by a member of the public, and I can only hope that more people will get involved in the prevention of animal smuggling and abuse in South Africa. This is going to be the first trial under the new Northern Cape Nature Conservation Act and will hopefully send out a strong message to all those considering animal smuggling in the future.

Although I shed a few tears when I first read this article, I am comforted by the fact that the cubs have been recovered and are now in safe hands. Whilst my faith in humanity has been jarred by the actions of the smugglers, I know that it is still intact when I think about the people who made it their mission to rescue these beautiful animals.

Link to full story on

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