By Lisa Marsden, Xa!Safaris, March 3rd, 2014
The bullet slammed into the lioness and she spun around in the air, falling against the electric fence behind which she was confined. Standing not too far away, on the other side of the fence, were her three young cubs from which she had been separated an hour earlier.
Another shot rang through the air, fired by the overseas hunter from his vehicle. She slumped to the ground in a crumpled heap, dust giving way to her lifeless body. The hunter then posed with the dead lioness and pulled at her mouth to show her teeth…
Later, in the skinning shed, as the lioness’s coat was removed from her body to become a “trophy” for the hunter, milk from her teats mingled with her blood on the ground.
Welcome to the sordid world of the “Canned Lion Hunting” industry in South Africa.
Canned hunting is where the target animal is unfairly prevented from escaping the hunter, either by physical constraints (fencing) or by mental constrains (tame or habituated to humans). In South Africa, the industry is fast-growing and is big business. Today it is estimated that there are between 6000 – 8000 lions in captivity, the majority of which are destined for the “Canned Lion Hunting” industry. Thousands of lions are kept in unnatural and inhumane conditions for this purpose. Confined to small spaces, they have been habituated to humans and depend on them. But they have a huge price on their heads – no longer are they the iconic predator that belongs to the Big Five that so many people flock to Africa from all around the globe to see.
It takes a specific kind of person to want to hunt and kill a lion. Whether it is a nomadic male roaming the African plains or a drugged and disorientated lion in an enclosure, these people have a sick desire to want to watch it fall, especially when it’s widely known that it is a species facing extinction.
Losing its head to a taxidermist, its bones to a Chinese pharmacy and its flesh to butchers in America, the magestic African lion is smuggled out of its homeland, destined to become a burger patty, a magic potion, or a floor mat. Harvested in superficial conditions and chopped up and sold for parts, the largest carnivore in Africa – the king of all animals – has gone from being a symbol of strength and bravery to a mere commodity traded amongst humans to the point where it is consumed as an unrecognizable version of itself. So next time you visit South Africa, stand your ground and don’t be fooled by an industry that offers interaction with lions from any place other than the seat of a safari vehicle!
On the 15th March 2014, a Global March for Lions will be held in various cities around the world to I’ll be marching in Cape Town, so please join me on Saturday, 15th March 2014, as we stand together in order to raise awareness of this cruel and inhumane practice.
To find out more details about marches in your city, log onto: http://www.cannedlion.org/ or
Cape Town, South Africa
Note from Shenton Safaris: the march is taking place in many cities around the world. For more information about Canned Hunting, you can also open this PDF CANNED HUNTING LEAFLET final