Major SA bank refuses to fund any canned hunting programmes

Cape Town - Nedbank, one of South Africa’s leading commercial banks, has announced that they will no longer “finance any activity constituting captive breeding of mammalian predator species for hunting or the exotic pet trade". 

Blood Lions says the move is a significant and vital breakthrough for those fighting to end predator breeding, canned hunting and the exploitation of animals in the tourism industry.

According to a statement issued by Blood Lions, the move comes after the bank's management “attended a number of workshops and engaged with interested and impacted stakeholders”, most notably the  Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), an organization at the forefront of the global campaign to end these activities.

SEE: Trophy hunting: SA's captive-bred lions and the burden of conservation proof

"It has long been established that breeding predators for canned or captive hunts has nothing to do with conservation, but few have shown the vision to take an ethical stand. Nedbank have now done that. The Blood Lions team applauds Nedbank and EWT for their leadership on these issues and we appeal to South Africa’s other banks to follow this bold move," says Ian Michler the investigative conservationist behind the canned lion hunting expose'. 

The move comes just days after the US dealt an equally massive blow to the canned lion industry in South Africa, banning the import of items from canned lion hunts, saying South Africa was unable to demonstrate the conservation value of canned lion hunting.

According the the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Services, Dan Ashe, lion trophies may only be imported from exporting nations like South Africa if they can provide evidence of the hunts benefiting the long-term survival of the species in the wild.

SEE: SA's muthi markets: The sad 'dereliction of duty'

"Following our research into the issue we have taken an in principle decision not to finance any activity constituting captive breeding of mammalian predator species for hunting or the exotic pet trade. This decision will form part of the total policy and book review in 2016 to better manage the biodiversity impact of our lending decisions," Nedbank states.

The Endangered Wildlife Trust also welcomed the decision, of which Nedbank is one of the proud founding partners of the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s National Biodiversity and Business Network (NBBN), established in May 2013.

"Since its inception Nedbank has worked closely with the NBBN to further the mainstreaming of biodiversity into South African business. The NBBN-EWT is proud to be associated with Nedbank in light of their many green initiatives, especially their recent commitment to better manage the biodiversity impact of their lending decisions.

This latest decision demonstrates the potential that lies within corporate to positively influence the management of South African biodiversity," it says. 

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