Say NO to Animal Interaction

From African elephants, buffalos and cheetahs to leopards and exotic primates, South Africa is home to a wide variety of wildlife species. They’re undoubtedly one of the many highlights of this beautiful country, attracting millions of visitors every year. As tempting as it is to have a one-on-one encounter with these incredible animals, do the responsible thing, and appreciate them from a safe distance.

It’s important that wildlife should remain and roam freely in their natural habitat and not be confined to small spaces in so-called sanctuaries or parks that promote cub petting and rehabilitation centres. As eager holiday makers, everyone would like an adventure. However, sometimes that perception of adventure comes in the form of animal interaction and tourists flood to animal-petting centres. These centres mislead visitors to believe that they’re promoting conservation and sadly, this is not the case.

Did you know that a wildlife institution should meet the mandates of conservation, release, education and wildlife awareness, and not promote the captivity of and interaction with animals? Unfortunately, there are many establishments in South Africa that do not adhere to this mandate and have been known to use wild animals for commercial exploitation. It’s assumed there are roughly 200 facilities holding approximately 6 000 – 8 000 animals in cages and captivity.

Do your bit and stand up to against this practice! Avoid visiting breeding farms and captive facilities that offer animal interaction experiences. Well known travel organisations such as African Travel & Tourism Association (ATTA) and Thomas Cook have already voiced their disapproval by not offering animal encounter packages. South African Tourism CEO, Sisa Ntshona, has said: ”South African Tourism does not promote or endorse any interaction with wild animals such as petting of wild cats, interacting with elephants and walking with lions, cheetahs and so on.”

Reasons to say NO to animal interactions include the realisation that breeding lions in captivity has no conservation value; captive-bred lions are tame and therefore unable to survive in the wild; fake wildlife sanctuaries easily mislead volunteers and visitors to believe that they’re authentic and promote animal ecology and conservation.

According to Ian Michler (co-campaign leader to the feature documentary Blood Lions) over 100 of the world’s leading safari and ecotourism operators signed up to the Born to Live Wild pledge in 2016. In the pledge, they’re committed to:

  • Promoting the wildness of predators.
  • Endorsing responsible and authentic tourism destinations.
  • Giving support to the legitimate conservation community.

Dr Simon Morgan, Director of Wildlife ACT Fund, says: “We applaud all of those that are willing to stand up and be counted, ensuring that tourism income and volunteer efforts are directed to true conservation efforts.” If animal lovers would like to volunteer at animal centres, it’s best that you contact a conservation agency for a referral to a recognised operation.

Rise up. Be part of the movement – say NO to the exploitation of wild animals. It may be thrilling to touch them, but you must know that it is even more exciting to see them thriving in their natural habitats on a proper safari.

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