Stop Killing Leopards for Religious Clothing


Target: Jacob Zuma, South African President

Goal: Stop the slaughter of leopards for religious clothing and use humane alternatives instead

A religious group in South Africa is seen as a huge threat to the survival of the African leopard population. They are called the Shembe group, and they see the leopard as a symbolic animal that demonstrates pride and wealth. They see the fur of the leopard as an important part of their religious attire and wear it around their bodies during traditional rituals.

Leopards in South Africa are listed as nearly threatened by the International Union Conservation of Nature, and are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. Under this protection, the sale and ownership of leopard parts is prohibited. However, leopard skins are being openly traded at religious gatherings with no penalties. The individuals in South Africa who continue to openly wear the leopard fur, such as South African President Jacob Zuma, have permits to do so.

Animal conservationists fear that as the Shembe group continues to grow, leopards will go into extinction in the near future. They are trying to fix the problem by finding a fake fur of similar high quality to the real leopard fur. The suggestion was brought up to the leader of the Shembe group, but he refused it. With the never-ending increase in leopard poachers, killing of leopards by farmers, and now this religious group, things do not look good for Africa’s leopards.

Please sign this petition to put a stop to the illegal killing of leopards for their fur, and to support replacing leopard fur with fake fur during religious events. Leopards will not be able to survive if the laws protecting them are not enforced.


Dear Jacob Zuma, South African President

Hundreds of leopards are killed every year by poachers, farmers, and now the Shembe religious group. The wild leopards of Africa are being threatened by  this growing religious group because they wear leopard fur for their traditional ceremonies. It has also been reported that you wear the leopard fur, as well. As the president of South Africa, please lead by example and stop wearing leopard fur so that the people of South Africa will stop, too.

Conservationists have been working hard to sell the idea of fake fur alternatives for the religious group, but have come back with no success. If you were to endorse this idea, then it would be more accepted by the people. The laws that have been put in place by the animal conservationists will mean nothing if you do not enforce it.

Please implement the laws and force this religious group and any other group to stop killing leopards for selfish reasons.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Profberger via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. What happens when the leopard is extinct what do they wear then?? As far as I know a fake fabric with leopard print was offered to the Shembe religious group and they accepted it, but I haven’t seen any progress since I read about it some months ago – The President and members of S.African Govt also wear leopard skin during cermonial occasions, when they will be enlightened I just don’t know. In the names of tradition and culture I’m afraid their minds are set

  2. Unnessecary, stupid, lower than humanity, no respect for living creatures, not worth it!!!!!!

  3. Brigid Braun says:

    I hope Zuma will take note of this petition and do the right thing. However, with all the goings-on in SA, I think protecting our beautiful wildlife isn’t a government priority

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