2023 will mark two years since the South African Government announced its intention to ban the captive lion industry and since our campaign to ban the commercial trade of all big cats in South Africa launched. Big cat farming is sadly an issue that is still very much alive and needs to be addressed. An estimated 12,000 lions and an unknown number of tigers and other big cats are still kept in captivity. FOUR PAWS has been working tirelessly since 2021 to become part of the solution.
Check our timeline below and discover the most important moments in our fight over the last two years.
Many more updates will come in 2023!
December – Big Cat Public Safety Act
US ‘Big Cat Public Safety Act’ signed into law! It will prohibit keeping tigers, lions and other big cat species as pets and bans interactions, including cub petting. A monumental move given that over 10,000 tigers are estimated to be kept in captivity in the US alone.
November – A second draft
In November, moreover, FOUR PAWS submitted recommendations on the second draft of the Draft White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s Biodiversity.
November – CITES CoP19
FOUR PAWS Wildlife experts advocate for better protection for big cats at CITES CoP19. Here are the key decisions taken that will affect big cats. Read more.
October – More and more support
Thanks to the incredible support of our community, we reached an amazing milestone of 150,000 petition signatures!
September – Recommendations
We also submitted recommendations on the newly released Draft White Paper on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of South Africa’s.
August – Lions, Bones & Bullets
FOUR PAWS is at the House of Parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, where Fiona Miles, Director of South Africa attends Lions, Bones & Bullets screening and participates in Q&A.
July –130,000 signatures
9 months after the launch of the campaign #BreakTheViciousCycle, 130,000 people have signed the petition to end the trade of all big cats for commerical trade.
June – Q&A about big cats
FOUR PAWS team answers questions about big cats! Through the #YouAskedWeAnswer digital Q&A series, we got to talk to our supporters and answer the questions they were curious about.
April – CITES missions
FOUR PAWS offers to fund CITES missions to captive facilities of concern in South Africa. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is the world wildlife trade regulatory body. South Africa is at risk of contravening CITES Decisions by intensively breeding Appendix I Asian big cat species for commercial trade in live animals and their parts.
February – Year of the Tiger Report
To celebrate the Lunar Year of the Tiger, FOUR PAWS launches an investigative report into the big cat farming in South Africa and highlights the need for international action. Read more.
January – Interview with Netflix
FOUR PAWS is interviewed by Netflix, exposing the truth behind the tiger cub petting industry. "We have found through investigations and work that it’s a complete cycle of suffering for these animals involved" said Vanessa Amoroso, Head of Wild Animals in Trade at FOUR PAWS. Find the article here.
November – #BreakTheViciousCycle launch
FOUR PAWS launches campaign and petition urging the South African Government to ban the commercial trade of big cats and their parts. Sign here if you haven't yet!
August – 'Tiger Mafia'
FOUR PAWS hosts an online film screening of the 'Tiger Mafia' documentary and emphasizes the big cat trade and demand from Asia. This is leading not only to a crisis for wild big cats but their trade is contributing to a biodiversity crisis across the world.
May – Historical announcement from the South African Government
The South African Government announced it will phase out the breeding and keeping of captive lions for commercial purposes. FOUR PAWS outlines necessary actions to ensure the implementation of this policy prioritises the welfare of the animals. Read more.