Two white lions held in captivity on a farm in Limpopo, South Africa have been poisoned by poachers who cut off their heads and paws for use. The lions are believed to have been targeted as part of a multi-killing, where animal body parts are used for healing in black magic rituals.
Local police said they had picked up a number of suspects relating to the killing near the Stockpoort border crossing with Botswana and investigation is underway.
It has been estimated that 8,000 lions are bred in captivity in South Africa.
According to a source: ‘The lions are often sold to facilities which offer walking experiences with lions. The final journey for most of these hand-reared lions is as a trophy to be mounted on a hunter’s wall.’
1000 lions are killed annually in South Africa by rich tourists who pay $5,400 (£3,500) to $48,000 (£31,000), depending on size and condition.