This may be quite shocking to some people who live in a part of the world where lions can only be seen on television.

South Africa obviously has lions in abundance and said on Wednesday that it has concluded plans to export 800 skeletons of captive-bred lions to China and other part of Asia where wild animal remains are in hot demand.

Captive breeding means that the lions were bred and raised in zoos unlike in the wild where lions naturally bred.

This hasn’t gone down well with animal rights activists who have condemned the move.

But South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs believes there is nothing wrong with the move, arguing that “if the trade in bones originating from captive-bred lions is prohibited, lion bones may be sourced illegally from wild lion populations.”

However, the organization Pro Wildlife dismissed the argument, saying it would be difficult to determine whether the bones come from captive or wild lions and that the trade could encourage poaching.

“It also means a free ticket for the abominable business with the hunting of captive-bred lions and fuels the demand for body parts of endangered animal species for alleged miracle remedies,” said Daniela Freyer from Pro Wildlife.

Lion-bone trade is on the increase after trade in tiger bone was banned, the organization said, warning that Africa’s lion populations have dropped by half to less than 20,000 animals over the past two decades.