Wealthy trophy hunters can expect to pay between $40,000 to $80,000 USD to shoot a captive bred Lion in South Africa, with no shortage as 12,000 lions available to them.
Today in South Africa there are currently 3,000 Lions in the wild, while an estimated 12,000 are in captivity – triple those in the wild.
Canned hunting is when wild animals like lions are bred in captivity then drugged and released into a controlled area where tourists and trophy hunters shoot them. Canned hunting is a safer option than shooting the animals in the wild.
Lions bred in captivity are only ‘Alive’ for one of two purposes, to be sold for their body parts and bones which are used in traditional Chinese medicines and to be sold through the canned hunting industry where they will be shot by wealthy trophy hunters wanting to tick the big cat off their ‘To kill lists’.
Captive bred lions are typically found living in appalling and filthy conditions where they are abused and in some cases emaciated. There are approximately 100 lion farms in South Africa with some conservationists estimated the true number to be around the 300 mark.
“Africa’s lions are facing an unprecedented crisis… These animals have a short and traumatic life in what is an incredibly cruel and cynical industry.” Says Dr. Mark Jones who is Head of policy at the Born Free Foundation.
A total of 800 lion skeletons are exported from South Africa each year with that number expected to rise as the demand for lion skulls and bones is growing in parts of Asia. The bones are used in traditional medicines and potions which claim to have aphrodisiac properties.
“There is no scientific proof that consuming lion bones will improve your life in any way, shape or form, it’s all hocus pocus being sold to naive and desperate people.” Says Melinda Hammond from the The International Animal Foundation.
According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Annually an estimated 600 lions are slaughtered for sport, while American trophy hunters account for 64 percent of those that are killed.
Canned hunting will continue to thrive as long as people are willing to pay to kill animals. Conservationists advise tourists visiting South Africa not to visit facilities which advertise close encounters with wild animals, especially lion cubs, who are sold into the canned hunting industry when they are grown up.
There are numerous Animal rights organisations working to end the canned hunting industry. Four Paws International is one and has gained growing support in fighting the canned hunting industry, their Petition gaining over 282,000 signatures.