May 20, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

Lions Are Being Poached At Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary In South Africa

Jun 05, 2017 11:55 AM EDT

A good number of lions transported to South Africa from Colombia and Peru in 2016. Poachers recently broke into the sanctuary and killed two of these big cats.

ABC News reported that last year 33 lions were freed from the circuses in Colombia and Peru. These big cats were then transported to South Africa so that they could have the wildlife refuge. But, last week, poachers intruded into a sanctuary in South Africa and killed two of these lions.

This shocking incident occurred at the famous Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa. The poachers killed two male lions, Jose and Liso, at the sanctuary. The incident reveals that how the brazen poachers can easily infiltrate the places like this sanctuary.

The sanctuary has earlier claimed that it has armed patrols and 24-hour security. But, the authority has taken some additional measures after the killing of the two male lions. Currently, the sanctuary is closed to the visitors and also the volunteers. Forensic experts already visited the place and investigating the crime.

According to Animal Defenders International group, the police and the anti-poaching units of South Africa are investigating the matter. The Animal Defenders International group played a significant role in transferring the lions from South America. The group is currently considering the offer of a reward for providing information that can ultimately lead to the conviction of the poachers.

Minunette Heuser and her daughter Savannah Heuser together run the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary. They utter significantly about this poaching incident. Minunette Heuser said they need to be united so that they can bring to justice the perpetrators who killed the two male lions. Last year, a circus in Colombia surrendered nine lions, The Telegraph reported.

Apart from the nine big cats, the Animal Defenders International rescued 24 lions from the circuses in Peru. Minunette Heuser reveals that the poaching incident has broken their heart, but the poachers can't break their spirit. The lions were among those animals including many birds, monkeys, and others that were rescued from circuses in Colombia and Peru in 2016.

So far no details are available about the motive behind this heinous act of the brazen poachers. Earlier in January poachers also infiltrated another park and beheaded three male lions. They chopped the paws of these lions, most probably, for the use in some traditional healing rituals.

A long tradition exists in some specific African cultures regarding the use of the lion parts. Conservationists are concerned about the increasing number of poaching incidents. Poachers are targeting these big cats to meet the demand of a few Asian countries. Lion claws and teeth have great value as the trinkets.

The bones of the African lions are also very valuable. They are the substitute for the rare tiger parts in the Asian markets. The lions, transferred to the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary from the circuses, were in bad condition. One of these lions, Rapunzel, died of the botulism toxin at the sanctuary in 2016.

Normally, animals can resist the botulism toxin, but it is not easy for those animals that have already suffered long time malnutrition. Rehabilitation efforts also sometimes can't bring any fruitful result. One elderly lion at the sanctuary died last week due to brain damage. This big cat previously suffered severe head blows in the circus.

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