A pride of Lion we can be proud of

TOMORROW will see a pride of wild lions introduced to the Somkhanda Community Game Reserve in northern KwaZuluNatal. The pride of three lions (two female and one male) has been given to Somkhanda by andBeyond Phinda, as part of its lion-management strategy.

“Lions were introduced into andBeyond Phinda back in 1992 and have flourished to the point that on regular occasions the lions have exceeded the carrying capacity of the reserve and have had to be translocated to other reserves in South Africa;’ said conservation manager for andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve Simon Naylor.

“Wild lion numbers are declining across Africa due mainly to habitat loss and poaching. It’s crucial for the future protection and conservation of the African lion that we expand and protect new range. The introduction of lion into the Somkhanda Game Reserve is a massive boost for lion conservation in KwaZuluNatal, South Africa and Africa. It will help reverse the current trend of declining lion numbers and wildlion range.’

This lion translocation was inspired by the groundbreaking feature documentary Blood Lions, which exposed the captive breeding and canned hunting industry.

“It is estimated that there are currently between 6 000 to 8 000 predators in captivity in South Africa, mostly living in appalling conditions with inadequate breeding and welfare protocols in place to protect them,” said Andrew Venter, Wildlands’ CEO and executive producer of Blood Lions.

“Furthermore, lion ecologists state that captive breeding plays no role in the conservation of this species, and to date no captivebred, handreared lions have successfully been rehabilitated into the wild. It is a shame that we now need to refer to lion as either wild or captive, but we at Wildlands are very proud to say that we have assisted in the expansion of wildlion range through the introduction of this pride to Somkhanda. This is truly a pride we can be proud of!”

“A central theme of the Blood Lions campaign calls for lion conservation to be managed by the recognised conservation.community;’ said Ian Michler, consultant and lead character for Blood Lions. “The Somkhanda release highlights what this entails: securing suitable habitat and using wild lions from reputable sources in a responsible release programme. Congratulations to Wildlands and its partners for this initi ative that increases the range of wild lands in South Africa.’

Empowers Africa were one of the first organisations to raise their hands and support the translocation. Krista Krieger, executive director and trustee of Empowers Africa, said: “The lion habitat expansion project to Somkhanda Community Game Reserve represents what we think is the key to the survival of the African lion — strong community buy-in, education about the ecological importance of lions and.community benefit from ecotourism.”

The translocation process will start tomorrow at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and will end when the pride are placed in a boma at Somkhanda. They will be housed in the boma for six to nine weeks to adjust, and Wildlands hopes to release them into the reserve at the end of July.

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