Target: President Jacob Zuma
Goal: End the breeding and rearing of lions for captive or “canned” hunting.
In South Africa, a hunter wanting a lion trophy can pay one of approximately 200 farms up to $50,000 to have a captive-bred lion released into a small pen for an easy kill. These animals are not providing sustenance to hunters, they are providing entertainment to men and women with deep pockets and no sense of decency. There are an estimated 8,000 “ranch lions” in South Africa that are exploited and used for these captive hunts, also known as “canned” hunts.
A film made by National Geographic titled Blood Lions recently debuted, and with it, many countries have responded by banning the import of lion trophies. While they themselves cannot stop the hunting trade taking place in South Africa, they can dent the value of business by disallowing the trophies people hunt for. The film has been a huge success in curbing lion hunting, but that alone isn’t enough.
Conservationists and African lion researchers advise that any assessment of the state of South African lions should exclude “ranch” lions. Without counting their numbers, true wild lions only number 3,000. Ranch lions have nothing to do with conservation, their purpose is not to boost African lion populations but to serve as easy hunting targets for trophy hunters. In raising awareness, the film Blood Lions has done exceptionally well, to the point that the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) has spoken strongly against “canned” hunting. It has also committed to joining the fight against the operators of such facilities.
Sign and join the fight against this cruel practice. It is a black mark against society as a whole that such an institution can prosper on such means.
Dear President Zuma,
Animal conservation is a major ordeal now, especially with so many species disappearing from our planet. African lions are well known animals, almost iconic, and often mistreated. They are a commodity exploited for entertainment, including in circuses and venues that allow humans to pet cubs. However, one of the most atrocious of these abuses are captive hunting ranches. An estimated 200 ranches operate in South Africa, with approximately 8,000 lions at any given time. Their purpose is only to charge hefty prices for rich hunters to easily and conveniently kill a lion and claim a trophy.
These ranches are an epidemic that need to be stopped. Thankfully, many countries have joined the outcry against the hunting of endangered species by banning the import of trophies. This won’t stop the industry entirely. Only South Africa itself can shut down these monsters.
Please don’t allow these sham businesses to profit on such senseless slaughter. Don’t allow these individuals to profit by exploiting these beautiful animals. Shut down the “canned” hunting operations and the farms that breed out lions to supply them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Ian Michler