<!--[if IE]><![endif]-->
Africa
Africa

Lion bones weighing 342kg seized in South Africa

  • 4 October 2019
A male with thick mane. Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Lions are classified as "vulnerable", with only around 20,000 remaining in the wild

Officials have seized 342kg (754lb) of lion bones and arrested three people at Johannesburg airport in South Africa, the environment ministry said.

The bones, which are prized in Asia for supposed medicinal benefits and to make jewellery, were destined for Malaysia.

The 12 boxes of lion bones wrapped in aluminium foil were misdeclared and discovered upon inspection.

Exporting bones of lions bred in captivity is legal in South Africa, though a special permit is required.

Ministry spokesman Albi Modise said those arrested were foreigners, including two from Zimbabwe, with one suspect still in custody.

The average weight of a lion skeleton is 9kg, according to a report produced by South Africa's EMS conservation foundation and the Ban Animal Trading group.

With skeletons of average weight, 342kg would amount to 38 lions.

It was not immediately clear whether the bones were from lions bred in captivity or from the wild.

Lion parts are often sold in Asian markets mislabelled as tiger parts, due to China's ban on the sale of tiger products, according to the UK-based Environment Investigation Agency.

"Tiger bone wine" is used in traditional Chinese medicine, though there is no evidence it has any benefits.

More than 11,000 lions live in South Africa, with 3,000 of them located in national parks where hunting is forbidden.

More on this story

  • Lion parts 'sold as fake tiger products' in Asia
    18 July 2017

Top Stories

New claim made as impeachment inquiry goes public

Donald Trump was overheard asking about "investigations" into Joe Biden, a top US diplomat says.

13 November 2019
PM vows to close 'opportunity gap' after Brexit
13 November 2019
Live updates from the election campaign trail
13 November 2019

Features

Why dad killed mum: My family's secret

What is Labour's four-day working week plan?

The tourist sites hit by Venice's floods

Electric car future may depend on deep sea mining

What to look for at Trump impeachment inquiry

A Taliban escapee, an English baby and a chance meeting

What we can read into the polls at this stage

Modest fashion: 'I feel confident and comfortable'

Rod Stewart reveals his epic model railway city

Elsewhere on the BBC