Currently, the majority of land used in South Africa for wildlife by the private sector has been converted from livestock farms to game farms and covers more land than state-owned provincial and national parks conservation areas combined. One animal that stands out above most wildlife regarding its popularity is the lion. From a private land owners’ point of view, lions are amongst the most sought after animals for photographic safaris and trophy hunting, leading to the increase of lion breeding and populations on private land to the point where the private sector is responsible for managing the largest portion of the lion population in South Africa. Therefore, the aim of this research is to determine the economic significance of lion breeding within the South African wildlife industry. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 21 breeders in South Africa. The results revealed that lion breeders contribute R500 million (US$ 42 million) annually to the South African economy. The contribution of this research is twofold. Firstly, it was the first time such research has been conducted amongst lion breeders, and secondly, it points to the economic significance of lion breeding regarding the amount spend by breeders as well as number of jobs maintained by this breeders.
Key words: Consumptive and non-consumptive wildlife tourism, economic significance, ecotourism, lion breeding, wildlife tourism.
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