CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) – The hunting of lions and other big cats bred in captivity purely to die at the barrel of a gun will be outlawed under legislation that comes into force next year, the government said Wednesday.

The Department of the Environment said the new regulations will make it illegal for anyone to kill large predators raised in an enclosed reserve to blunt their survival instincts.

It said it would also ban the shooting of lions, cheetahs and leopards in a “controlled environment,” where hunters had an unfair advantage over the beasts, as well as forbidding the killing of tranquilized animals.

“The department shall never condone unacceptable hunting practices … including the so- called canned hunting,” it said.

The proposed laws were drawn up following three years of consultations with hunting industry and conservation groups.

South Africa is famous as home to the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo. Its flagship Kruger National Park attracts hundreds of thousands of camera-toting visitors annually. Some 9,000 privately owned game farms and other government-run reserves also offer visitors a taste of the wild.

South Africa has become a choice destination for those willing to pay a high price to take home a prized trophy.

The TRAFFIC wildlife trade monitoring network said that in 2004, 190 lions worth an estimated $3.3 million were hunted by foreigners.

Hunting is an integral part of South African life because of its cultural traditions and importance to the economy. Environment Minister Marthinius van Schalkwyk is an avid hunter.

But a government panel set up as part of revising the law found horrific examples of abuse, including the widespread use of predators born and bred in captivity.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.