BLOOD LIONS™ at the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show

From the 9th to the 13th of March ITB (Internationale Tourismus – Bȍrse Berlin) will be celebrating 50 years of being the leading travel and tourism trade show worldwide.

The response from the Global Community to the practice of breeding lions, as well as the mis-management of wild lions – purely for the entertainment of the tourism community – over the last year has been astounding. Who would have thought that a single lion, Cecil, and a documentary such as BLOOD LIONS™ could have brought upon such a rapid and engaged response? It is for this reason that ITB – a major international tourism trade fair in Berlin, Germany – asked for the ground-breaking film BLOOD LIONS™ to be shown, as well as for panel discussions and a workshop to take place to figure out how tourism and travel activities can play a part in ensuring the exploitation of predators is no longer an acceptable practice.

BLOOD LIONS™ will be available at ITB on Stand 242 in Hall 4.1.  The producer, Pippa Hankinson, will be screening the film as well as participating in a number of key events:  

  • Together with Dr. Simon Morgan, Director of Wildlife ACT, Pippa has been invited to present the keynote address at Fair Trade Tourism’s annual event on the Main Stage in Hall 4.1 on Thursday 10th March at 10h15. They will also be participating in the subsequent panel discussion entitled “Imagine Helping Africa”, where issues regarding the quality in the volunteering sector, as well as how this might impact on the image and brands of the continent will be examined.
  • The full documentary BLOOD LIONS™ will then be screened inRoom Regensburg (adjacent to Hall 4.1), on Thursday 10th March at 14h45.
  • The screening will be immediately followed by a Workshop in Room Regensburg at 16h15 exploring “Predator Interactive Voluntourism”BLOOD LIONS™, Wildlife ACT, Fair Trade Tourism and Global Nature Fund will form part of the panel discussion. This valuable debate will include questions such as whether these interactions support ethical and sustainable. The role of predator sanctuaries will be looked at, together with the criteria for identifying bona fide conservation projects. The link to “canned” or captive hunting and the “tiger bone trade” will also be examined.
  • On Friday 11th March at 14h00 at Pow-Wow in Hall 4.1, there will be a 30 minute presentation on “Predator Interactions – are tourists and volunteers being conned?” where the trailer and some short clips from the film BLOOD LIONS™ will be shown. This will be followed by a short interactive Q&A with BLOOD LIONS™ producer Pippa Hankinson and Wildlife ACT director Dr. Simon Morgan, around whether tourists and volunteers are being misled.

BLOOD LIONS™ is a feature documentary that exposes the captive lion breeding and canned hunting industry in South Africa. Approximately 1,000 captive-bred, hand-reared lions were killed in the country last year, fuelling a multimillion-dollar international industry.

It is estimated that there are currently between 6,000 and 8,000 predators in captivity, mostly living in appalling conditions with inadequate breeding and welfare protocols in place to protect them. Volunteers believe they are supporting bona fide conservation projects and that the cubs will one day be rewilded. However, lion ecologists state that captive breeding plays no role in the conservation of this species, and that to date no captive bred, hand-reared lions have successfully been rehabilitated into the wild.

“There is still a lot of work to be done though and unfortunately the abuse of the “Voluntourism” dollar is still high, with lion cub petting and lion walking still being promoted heavily in Southern Africa,” said Dr. Simon Morgan of Wildlife ACT. “Wildlife ACT and Fair Trade Tourism brought the message about this abuse during the World Youth Travel Conference in Cape Town, by hosting a screening of BLOOD LIONS™ with a follow-up workshop with the conference delegates and producers of the film. It was at this conference in Cape Town that some organisers of ITB realised the importance of bringing this message to the global travel industry and kindly offered the BLOOD LIONS™ team, in partnership with Wildlife ACT and Fair Trade Tourism, the opportunity to bring the same message to unsuspecting supporters of this abhorrent practice of breeding lions to be bottle-fed, petted, cuddled, taken for walks and then ultimately hunted for profit.

In this chain of exploitation it is the tourism dollar earned from the “voluntourism” market and the add-on lion walks that are really cashing in on these poor animals which are bred simply for the bullet. Although the wild lion population of Africa is in decline, it is important to note that the captive breeding of lion play no role in the conservation of this species, in any way, and this is scientific fact. There are therefore no facilities which breed lion that can claim to contribute to the conservation of this species in any meaningful way. The global travel industry has a role to play in bringing these practices to an abrupt end and we will explore these issues while at ITB.”

Back to Media

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