Blood Lions® Campaign: 2018 in review

January 2018 to December 2018

Written by Blood Lions

Published on 29 Mar, 2019

Since the film premiered in July 2015, the Blood Lions® Campaign team – together with the wonderful support of key partners around the world – have made great strides in their efforts to raise global awareness around captive lion breeding and “canned” (captive) hunting, as well as the associated tourism activities.

Below is a brief outline of our key milestones for 2018 – another significant year for change and awareness with the help of many partners and organisations in tourism, conservation and welfare.

Digital Media 2018

  • The Website: over 200 000 visitors
  • Blood Lions Facebook: over 54 000 followers; reach over 3.3 million in 2018
  • Blood Lions Twitter: over 7 300 followers; reach over 1.9 million in 2018
  • YouthForLions Facebook: over 4800 followers, reach over 366 000 in 2018
  • YouthForLions Twitter: over 710 followers, reach over 707 000 in 2018
  • Five international tweet storms with involving millions of supporters worldwide
  • Online support since 2015 from top international influencers and celebrities: Ellen de Generes (48m followers), Miley Cyrus (19.4m), Ian Somerhalder, (6.21m), Nikki Reed (.8m), Shannon Elizabeth (.6m), Emily VanCamp (.5m), Ricky Gervais (12 m), Marc Abraham (46.8k)

Media Coverage:

  • R53 673 762.16 pro bono media coverage globally to date and climbing daily.


  • International Distributors
    • PBS International, USA and IFD, South Africa
  • Blood Lions®DVD and VOD
  • Blood Lions® TV airings (54min TV edits): still ongoing in 180 countries/territories around the world through the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, MSNBC, TV Ontario, RTK, N-Tv, Planéte.
  • Blood Lions® “curated” screenings:Over 150 screenings in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Finland, Germany, Holland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
  • Blood Lions® promotional clips: 9 short info clips produced for the campaign, featuring different aspects of the captive lion breeding and canned hunting industry.
  • Blood Lions® short promotional “teasers”: 9 info teasers produced this year for social media events
  • 30,000 Blood Lions® DVDs distributed throughout South Africa: leading retailer Woolworths distributed largest number of DVD’s ever ordered in SA through their Bags4Good “Born to Live Wild” campaign.

2018 “Milestones”

  • 2018 total media coverage for the year: Over R13 673 000.00 in pro bono media
  • TV Airings: In addition to ongoing international airings of the TV edit of Blood Lions®, South African station SABC3 aired the full version of the film to coincide with World Lion Day on 10th
  • VOD: Contracts were signed with Ecostreamz in the USA for global viewing (excl. SA), and Showmax for viewing in South Africa.
  • Promotional videos: Nine short clips were produced for release to coincide with key campaign initiatives
  • TV interviews:Blood Lions presented on Kyknet TV on the captive breeding industry
  • Radio interviews:Cape Talk Radio, RGS, Algoa FM on various topics in the industry.
  • Thirteen school/university Blood Lions® Screenings and “Youth For Lions” presentations
  • Fourteen curated Blood Lions® Screenings, presentations and talks were hosted over the year. Various TV, radio, magazine and newspaper interviews and articles were also conducted during the year
  • Partnership activations and events:
    • British Illustrator and author Patrick George created effective graphics for “YouthForLions”
    • Richard Peirce’s “Cuddle Me, Kill Me” Book included Blood Lions contributions
    • Humane Society International (HSI) Tourism alert and Poll
    • Humane Society International (HSI) / Blood Lions airline magazine advertisements:
  • South African Media Launch of Born Free Foundation’s ‘Cash before Conservation’ Report: An Overview of the Breeding of Lions for Hunting and Bone Trade.
  • Blood Lions broke the news on the slaughter of over 100 lions in the Freestate province which gained international attention and national action. Read Article Here
  • EWT Joint open letter to Department of Environmental Affairs on predator attacks.
  • Membership of a newly formed coalition of conservation leaders created to “stop the captive breeding and keeping of lions and other big cats for commercial purposes”.
  • Bellevue Café, Kloof, KZN: Coffee campaign and fundraiser to raise awareness around captive lion breeding industry.
  • Thompsons Africa: multiple screening of Blood Lions to Thompsons Africa staff, followed by signing of the Blood Lions “Born To Live Wild” Tourism Pledge committing not to endorse or sell exploitative wildlife interactions: Read Here
  • SA Institute of International Affairs: contribution towards report by Dr. Ross Harvey “The Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in SA
  • SPOTS in the Netherlands, in partnership with TUI and ANVR, held multiple screenings of the Blood Lions® at Stenden University, Saxion University and Wageningen University, which formed part of an extended “Responsible Tourism and Voluntourism” initiative
  • WESSA : Envirokidz Magazine insert on cub petting
  • Participated in the “Cape Town Unites For Animals” March
  • Trek for Big Cats “Everest Base Camp” raising awareness around the plight of big cats
  • Jackson Hole Wild, USA: Mobile film Library partnering with African Parks to hold screenings of films in rural areas across Africa
  • Live Facebook feeds / videos
    • Karl Ammann, Swiss filmmaker and environmental journalist: speaking about the tiger bone trade in South East Asia and his upcoming film. Watch it here.
    • Pippa Hankinson, Blood Lions: speaking about the Portfolio Committee for the Environment’s Report as adopted by Parliament, which followed the colloquium on captive lion breeding in South Africa. Watch it here.
    • Andrew Venter, CEO WildTrust: discussing the lion bone trade. Watch it here.
  • Trade Fairs and Conferences attended
    • Indaba, Durban South Africa
    • We Are Africa: Conservation Lab, Cape Town South Africa
    • South African Youth Travel Conference (SAYTC), Western Cape
    • Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Cape Town: two day colloquium entitled “Captive Lion Breeding For Hunting In South Africa: Harming Or Promoting The Conservation Image Of The Country?”
    • Symposium of Contemporary Conservation Practice
  • Youth For Lions Online Campaign:
    • YFL Blog: launched December 2018 as a way to share educational content regarding the captive lion breeding industry, as well as to keep our followers up to date with news from the campaign and activities that the YouthForLions team are involved in.
    • 2018 #YouthForLions On-Line Campaigns (Initiatives):
      • #AprilAwareness– Campaign looking at the six questions you should be asking before visiting wildlife facilities.
      • #JumpIntoActionInJune– Raised awareness around the actions our followers could take against the cub petting industry, canned lion hunting and lion bone trade. Each week an action was highlighted that enabled our followers to help make a difference in the conservation and protection of lions.
      • #SeptemberSchoolsChallenge – We challenged our followers, their friends and schools to sign our PLEDGE and SAY NO to animal interaction and facilities involved in the captive breeding and canned hunting industry.  We asked them to send in their pictures and join the global movement against the canned hunting industry in South Africa.

The NSPCA has huge animal welfare concerns for the animals exploited in the captive predator and canned hunting industry in South Africa. This industry is unregulated, uncontrolled and is responsible for untold cruelty. It is a tragedy that our wild animals are reduced to profit making machines. Coupled with this members of public are unwittingly encouraging and supporting this cruelty, so it is vital that the public are aware of the truth behind the industry so they can make informed decisions and hopefully choose not to support such an unethical industry.

Sr.Ainsley Hay, Manager, NSPCA Wildlife Protection Unit

Breeding magnificent wild creatures like lions in camps so that they can be slaughtered for ego and money is unconscionable and should be outlawed.  Lions have the right to live in the wild and to continue playing their unique role within the ecological communities of Africa.  The continued existence of the canned hunting industry is a moral outrage that diminishes us all.  This important film shines a light into the dark corners of this ugly business.

Cormac Cullinan, Cullinan & Associates Incorporated

Cruel, barbaric, macabre – all words used by Australian MPs about lion farming and the canned lion hunting industry in SA.  Our campaign was glad to be able to assist and participate in a full length documentary that aims to expose a brutal industry whose whole business model is routine, egregious cruelty to helpless animals – for fun.

Chris Mercer, Founder, CACH (Campaign Against Canned Hunting)

Captive lions have long been a blemish on South Africa’s wildlife and tourism landscape and their tragic story needed to be exposed before these practices negatively impacted on Brand South Africa. Congratulations to all involved in taking the time and making this happen.

Colin Bell, Tourism consultant and author of “Africa’s Finest”

“As a travel and conservation based organization, we find the “Blood Lions” documentary deeply disturbing. Despite being hard to watch, we urge people to get out there and see it. It is important to shed light on the dark and corrupt business of rearing lions for the purposes of hunting, in hopes of making a positive change. As we polled our membership, we found that individually each of our companies have chosen to stop booking all activities that contribute to this industry.”

The Safari Professionals – 30 Tour Operators based in the US and Canada

South Africa’s failure to address the canned hunting industry has emboldened those who make a living out of the death of lions bred, raised and slaughtered on a ‘no kill, no fee’ basis. The canned hunting industry is unnatural, unethical and unacceptable. It delivers compromised animal welfare and zero education. It undermines conservation and creates a moral vacuum now inhabited by the greed and grotesque self-importance of those who derive pleasure in the taking of life.

Blood Lions lays bare the truth behind the canned hunting industry that, far from contributing to the future survival of the species, may, in fact, accelerate extinction in the wild, leaving behind a trail  littered with rotting corpses of its helpless and hopeless victims.

Will Travers OBE, President Born Free Foundation

The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust, in providing support for the making of this Documentary, does so in the firm belief that it is important that the true facts behind captive lion breeding and canned lion hunting in South Africa, is brought to the attention of a global audience in order to create awareness which in turn will lead to much needed change.

Les Ward MBE, Chairman, The Marchig Animal Welfare Trust

This is a timely, courageous as well as a deeply disturbing documentary. It is at the same time, a voice for the wild and the voiceless … of saying “NO MORE!” to that terrible triad of financial opportunism, deceit and indifference to the non-human animal by those claiming to be conservationists.

Ian McCallum – Author, poet, psychiatrist and naturalist

With the constant pressure on wildlife, every effort must be made to keep our last vestiges of natural fauna and flora protected.    Canned hunting of any kind, along with the related consequences, must be condemned by humanity as not only a travesty of nature but also an utterly inhumane practise.   Taming lion cubs only to later hunt them is an utterly inhumane practice.   It is pseudo-hunting, a complete sham and does not even qualify as hunting on a sustainable use basis.   Wildlife conservation has to evolve into practices that are ethical, humanitarian and sustainable. This will not be achieved if there is not real and fair community involvement which has not been part of the hunting fraternity’s evolution.

Yvette Taylor, Executive Director, The Lawrence Anthony Earth Organisation

“Canned lion ‘hunting’ is nothing less than a bargain basement opportunity for foreign hunters to engage in one of South Africa’s most sordid practices. Hunting of captive bred lions entirely dependent on human fingerprints from cub to trophy is immoral, unethical and against all animal welfare concerns. The fact that it still continues as profitable commerce is a damning statement against all of us who have not properly engaged to snuff it out. Blood Lions is a good start to bring change.”

Dr Pieter Kat – Director: LionAid

Canned Lion