RSA Appeals Court Overturns Regulation on Lion Hunting The appeals court in South Africa has reversed the lower court decision that had upheld the regulations on lion hunting. The appeals court held that the regulations were irrational thus illegal. The court found that the purpose of the 24-month waiting period against put-and-take hunting was to provide sufficient time for an intensively managed lion (captivebred, fed, canned) to be re-wilded before being hunted. That was “irrational” because all the expert opinion in the record, including the experts of the captive breeders, was to the effect that once captive bred, lion can never be rewilded or wilded no matter how long the period. That decision invalidates the law, but we wonder about the ultimate outcome. We don’t think the opposition to “canned hunting” of lion in RSA is going to accept this outcome. Even PHASA is opposed to put-andtake hunting of lion. Frankly, although I was an expert witness in the case on an unrelated aspect at the request of PHASA leadership, I did not appreciate the conclusiveness of the opinions from all sides that lion can never be rewilded after being captive bred or intensively managed. I certainly understand why the breeders have not broadcasted that disturbing reality to hunters. The RSA authorities have to go back to the drawing board or abandon the reform effort. For the time being, the lion will not be subject to any such regulation. The regulation has not been in effect because the regulation was voluntarily suspended already by the RSA authorities. Some think that almost all lion hunting in RSA may ultimately be banned because intensively bred lion can’t be re-wilded. The time period may simply be dropped from the regulation, and the restrictions on the minimum size of the enclosure could remain. That would not eliminate the put-and-take that is believed to be unacceptable. A regulation that knowingly accepts some degree of dependence less than complete re-wilding may be able to pass court review.