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The Lions Share of the South African Tourist and Hunting Industry

The Lions Share of the South African Tourist and Hunting Industry

Thousands of captive lions are being exploited daily in South Africa. Prematurely removed from their mothers, lion breeders use the hand reared baby lion cubs to lure tourists to petting facilities for photographic and ‘feel good’ purposes. Unsuspecting international volunteers arrive in South Africa in droves to care for these lion cubs, often paying large sums of money to the breeder for this ‘unique’ opportunity.

Petting and walking with lion are just two of the ways that lions are exploited in the South African by the global tourism industry. These cute lion cubs grow up, and are no longer considered safe for human interaction. They are then used for captive (or canned) bred hunting purposes, bringing in thousands of American dollars. Nine out of ten lions shot in captive bred facilities in South Africa are killed by Americans. The bones of the deceased captive bred hunted lion are then sold to the Chinese for traditional medicinal purposes.

There are approximately eight thousand captive lions in South Africa. A captive bred lion hunt is one where the lion is kept in a confined fenced area, increasing the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a successful kill. Captive bred lion hunts occur on privately owned land where the laws that protect wildlife are often difficult to enforce. The lions have no chance of escaping, fighting back or surviving. Trophy hunters are attracted by the guarantee of success and the reduced costs. A wild lion shot on safari might cost as much as ten times the amount of a captive bred lion hunt. This bizarre form of hunting was first exposed in 1997 in a British television report, the Cook report.
“Blood Lions” a South African made documentary which has been viewed in over 185 countries worldwide, exposed South Africa’s controversial captive bred lion industry. These hand reared lions that are kept in the confined areas have nothing to do with conservation. Despite the significant growth in the captive bred lion hunting industry over the past seventeen years wild lion numbers have continued to decline.

The South African Department of Environmental Affairs has largely ignored the input of conservation groups and sided with the captive bred lion industry. Instead of banning the export of lion bones Minister Edna Molewa announced that a quota of eight hundred skeletons of captive bred lions was set for 2017.

In 2015 the increased global exposure of the South African captive bred lion hunting industry convinced some of the members of the Professional Hunting Association of South Africa (PHASA) to speak out against this abhorrent industry.

They committed to expelling errant operators and some acknowledged that the practice of captive bred lion hunting was no longer defendable.

A minority of hunters in South Africa remained in support of this unethical form of hunting.
In 2016 the US Fish and Wildlife Services banned the imports of captive bred lion trophy heads, skins, claws, teeth and other lion parts from these kills. “We cannot and will not allow trophies into the United States of America from any nation whose lion conservation program fails to meet key criteria for transparency, scientific management and effectiveness” said Dan Ashe, director of USFWS.

Last week at their 40th Annual General Meeting 65% of the members of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa refused to honor their 2015 commitment with integrity. These PHASA members lowered their perceived ethical standards in favour of the lucrative captive bred lion hunting industry.

“In light of the recent acceptance of the shooting of captive bred lions as a legitimate form of hunting by PHASA, we, as a concerned group of professional hunters can no longer view PHASA as the legitimate mouthpiece for professional hunting in South Africa”
OPHAA Operators and Professional Hunting Associations of Africa suspended PHASA’s members indefinitely.

There are approximately twenty thousand wild lion left in Africa.

GMFER believes that the assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatment of them has no moral significance is completely misguided. This practice of trophy hunting of animals is crude and barbaric. The captive bred lion industry in South Africa is positively outrageous. We call for universal compassion and condemnation.

Megan Carr
VP Social Media

Blood Lions
Global March for Lions
Ban Animal Trading South Africa
International Campaign Against Canned Hunting
Volunteers in Africa Beware
Lion Aid
Humane Society International
SA-People - for South Africans in South Africa and expats
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Image Credit BLOOD LIONS


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