#ShockWildlifeTruths: SA tourism industry urged to commit to help curb ‘exploitative wildlife practices’

#ShockWildlifeTruths: SA tourism industry urged to commit to help curb ‘exploitative wildlife practices’

Cape Town – South Africa is going to be celebrating Heritage month in September – with our wildlife being an integral part of SA’s natural heritage,  it stands to reason that our tourism practices should advocate ethical, wildlife protection.

This has seen Blood Lions and Humane Society International  asking the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA) to join its international petition, with over 110 000 signatures and directed at the South African tourism industry,  with the aim of curbing exploitative wildlife practices.

Blood Lions together with Humane Society International presented the formal request and call to action at the SATSA conference taking place in Stellenbosch on Thursday 17 August, asking its members to” help end exploitative wildlife practices and calling then to join the global Born to Live Wild Pledge”.

‘Urge the tourism industry to end lion exploitation!’

Speaking on the animal interaction panel discussion at SATSA. Blood Lions documentary filmmaker and environmental journalist, Ian Michler says “it is clear that a lot of work needs to be done in order to define ecological education and highlight the difference between it and the use of wildlife for entertainment”, especially when it comes to responsible tourism.

“Blood Lions wishes to congratulate SATSA on tackling what is clearly a thorny issue around wildlife interactions in South Africa. A special thanks must also go to the SATSA members of which a majority have signed the ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge,” says Michler.

He has called on SATSA to “distinguish between legitimate wildlife facilities versus those that are businesses looking to justify the use of animals for financial gain.”

In the pledge HSI reiterates that unknown to tourists and volunteers, “captive-bred lion cubs they are led to believe are orphaned, pay to feed, pet and walk with are raised to be a trophy hunter’s next victim.”

“The documentary film Blood Lions reveals that between 6 000 and 8000 captive-bred lions are confined to cruel conditions on farms throughout South Africa, raised purely for profit and exploitation.

It also states that SA’s move to approve the sale and export of 800 captive-bred lion skeletons for 2017, ignoring widespread public opposition – will potentially fuel the demand in Asia where lion bones are used in tonics.”

The DEA says the export will only be from captive-bred lions as per the specific parameters approved by Convention in the Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

Lions in South Africa are listed under Appendix II which means their products can be traded internationally but only “if the trade will not be detrimental to the survival of the species in the wild.” The numbers of African free-range lions have declined alarmingly over the last few decades with only 20 000 remaining today, down from 30 000 just two decades ago.

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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