Lions are being raised by the thousands in 'horrifying' breeding farms to be gunned down by Trophy Hunters who pay in excess of $55,000 US.
An investigation known as 'OPERATION SIMBA' has revealed the heartbreaking and horrifying revelations into the ruthless canned hunting industry.
It was also discovered that other big cats are being slaughtered for their bones to be dried and then crushed to make traditional Asian ‘medicines’ after being sold to dealers in the Far East.
Canned hunting is the a process of choosing, targeting and hunting wild Animals, typically big cats in an enclosed and controlled area. This method is far safer for the trophy hunter than hunting in the wild.
Earlier this month a poacher was brutally killed and eaten by three lions. The 'canned hunting' industry is so deprolable that even other hunting organisation want to distance themselves from it
Those that aren't shot by the heartless hunters are butchered in slaughterhouses for their bones - used to treat ailments like rheumatism. Besides the bones, other body parts are in great demand as the animal represents strength and bravery, which are believed to be transferred to the consumer.
Operation Simba discovered there are now an estimated 12,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa, which outnumbers estimated wild numbers in the country by almost four to one.
The cubs born in the more ruthless farms are taken away from their mothers at just a few days old to be hand reared. As the lions become too dangerous to be allowed near tourists some are supplied to South Africa’s burgeoning ‘trophy hunting’ industry.
"My year-long probe lifts the lid on barbaric and illegal practices at the heart of South Africa’s deeply shameful lion trade." - Lord Ashcroft
"The investigation shows how up to 12,000 lions bred in captivity are destined either to be shot by wealthy hunters – in what is often a pathetic charade of a hunt – or killed in squalid abattoirs so their bones can be exported to the Far East.
Trophy Hunters travel to South Africa from all over the glove including The United States, United Kingdom, Canada and United Arab Emirates just primarily to shoot big cats and other wildlife.
The cost to shoot a big cat in South Africa can cost in the range of $55,000 US to shoot a large male. Some may not have known the animals they had shot had been raised for illegal hunts.
South Africa allows 800 captive-bred lion skeletons to be exported each year. They fetch about $160 US a kilo, or $7,000 US for a whole skeleton, including the skull. Nearly all of the legal sales go to Vietnam, Thailand and Laos, where the bones are boiled down and made into a cake.
Experts believe that the Lion may go extinct by the year 2060 if they are killed off at the current rate.