|Volunteers with a lion cub|
As a wildlife conservation based Safari Company it would be less than candid, if we were to avoid mentioning some of the conservation issues that African wildlife faces. There are of-course many issues with poaching high on the list, but one that I think worthy of further mention is canned lion hunting.
Canned hunting’ is the somewhat controversial practice of holding a captive bred lion in a fenced enclosure to be shot by international hunters, who subsequently export the skin/carcass as a trophy.
It is estimated that 6,000 lions are held in the canned lion hunting industry.
Within the conservation lobby, there are arguments for and against canned hunting. The against is I suppose self evident (breeding captive animals to be shot for the self gratification of so called hunters), while those for make the case that at least those hunters leave wild lions alone.
Whatever your view, an element of worthwhile note is that the source for canned hunting stock is often petting zoos, and or unethical rehabilitation establishments. Where money is made from tourists who enjoy holding a cute lion cub and return home proudly showing off their photographs. What they don’t know is that it is likely that the cute cub in their photograph will eventually be killed in a canned hunt. It is simply too dangerous for tourists to continue to pet them once they grow beyond infancy and they are too expensive to keep around for 15-23 years, and more stock of cubs are needed for the petting zoo, so once they grow they are moved on to canned hunting establishments.
As I figure you might guess our safaris do not visit such establishments, nor have any association with them, indeed we actively support initiatives to outlaw canned hunting.
|Waiting for the final day|
Only 4 years ago hunters killed an average of 400 captive bred lions, in 2013 an alarming 1,200 lions were killed in legal and illegal hunts. An increase of 200% in just four years!
Trophy prices paid for male lions are much higher than that of a lioness. Hunting prices range from about £2,000 - £45,000 for a full maned white lion. In South Africa a number breeding projects still exist with some of them holding as many as 400 lions in a single breeding project.