The breeding of lions in captivity for trophy hunting is under the spotlight at Parliament.
South Africa has come under increasing fire locally and internationally for allowing the controversial practice.
The Environmental Affairs oversight committee is hosting a two-day colloquium on the issue, bringing together local and international experts ranged on both sides of the debate.
At issue is whether or not South Africa is destroying its good record in conservation by allowing canned lion hunting and the export of the bones of captive-bred lions.
Environment Affairs committee chairperson Philemon Mapulane said: “As Members of Parliament, we must out of necessity become particularly concerned when reputable international conservation agencies turn their backs and deplore our practices.
“We cannot afford to develop the same reputation South Africa used to enjoy during the apartheid days internationally.”
While regulated, critics say the practice sees lions that have been hand-reared in small pens tranquilised and then lured to where rich, foreign trophy hunters can shoot them. Those in favour claim that captive breeding for hunting conserves lions in the wild.