There are around 150 lion parks and captive breeding facilities in South Africa that hold approximately 5,800 captive bred lions. None of these lions will ever be released into the wild, they will most likely be sold to canned hunting facilities or at least the ‘middle men’.
These lion parks offer tourists and volunteers the chance of a lifetime; to cuddle 3 week old lion cubs all in the name of conservation. Of course it seems like common sense now that absolutely no park that offers this interaction genuinely contributes towards conservation, but they have incredibly convincing cover stories.
The cycle of a captive bred lion’s life begins with being taken from its mother at around 2 weeks old to be raised by volunteers with absolutely no qualifications or experience. Tourists and volunteers are often told the cubs are orphans and will eventually be released into the wild, but this is completely untrue. This has never happened and probably never will. The lionesses are forced into churning out cubs for tourists to pay to cuddle and once they’re too big, they’re trained to go on ‘lion walks’. Tourists and volunteers venture into the bush equipped with sticks to smack the lions should they become too unruly and once the lions become too big for lion walks, they are sold. Parks always keep tight lipped about where the lions are sold, yet Ukutula have admitted that some of their lions have ended up in American zoos. Usually sold to canned hunting middle men or private owners, there’s one place they certainly aren’t ending up; the wild.
The lions are so used to humans by the time they are sold that they are not afraid when confronted with a jeep full of American tourists holding expensive bows that they don’t have the IQ to justify owning. Once the helpless lion is killed, the completely unskilled hunter pays to take the trophy home.
These poor lions, the ‘King of the Jungle’ no less, are being reduced to money making schemes for people with absolutely no morals or ethics and who certainly have no clue about the true meaning of conservation. The lions make money from the second they are born to the second they are shipped and ready to hang on the wall. How anyone can condone that is completely beyond me. We are slowly diminishing the lion population and canned hunting is fuelling the problem, not preventing it.