Like sardines in a can

In this case, we are not talking about sardines in a can, but about lions kept in a fenced area. This is done to enable canned hunting: lions are hunted in small enclosures, making it impossible for them to escape and easy for the hunter to succeed. The lions in these hunting enclosures are specifically bred for this purpose.

Blood Lions – Bred for the Bullet

The South-African movie Blood Lions, Bred for the Bullet documents this practice and presents the views of several people. It shows how a regular hunter travels to South-Africa to investigate canned hunting by pretending he wants to participate. The documentary contains a lot of information that we also set out in this article. It is definitely not a light-hearted movie, but it is worth watching.

All the facts

Before the hunt, the participant can pick out the lion he likes the most. The payment is done upfront. A regular lion hunt lasts two to three weeks, in a canned hunt only three days are needed to shoot the chosen animal. Good hunting skills are not required to participate, which causes lions to be shot several times, leading to a slow and painful death.

Breeding wild animals (not just lions) is very easy in South-Africa: all you need is money and a permit. Basic knowledge of breeding and animal care is not required.
Lions are easy to breed in captivity. As a consequence, too many lions are kept in one enclosure and cubs are separated from their mothers after three to ten days, so the lioness can be impregnated again. The animals are not well-taken care of and become physically exhausted.

Another reason for keeping lions in captivity, besides canned hunting, is the illegal bone trade for traditional Chinese medicine. As their bones are the only thing that matter, even less attention is given to the living conditions and well-being of the animals.

Many volunteers work on so-called petting farms in order to take care of the lion cubs that have been separated from their mothers after three to ten days. While the volunteers believe that they are contributing to wildlife conservation by working there, the orphaned cubs will eventually be used in canned hunting. The volunteers also need to pay in order to work there, so the breeders make even more profit.

Many hunters believe that they contribute to biodiversity by participating in canned hunting. The amount of lions increases by breeding them, while the amount of hunted lions in the wild decreases. Certain hunters also emphasize that a regular hunt lasts two to three weeks, without the guarantee of actually shooting a lion. In contrast, canned hunting only takes up to three days and the hunter is certain of making a kill.
Research on releasing captivity-bred lions confirms that these animals cannot survive in the wild. This proves that breeding lions will not increase populations of wild lions.

Why is this legal?

Perhaps you are wondering why such a practice is allowed? In an episode of the TV show The Cook Report on canned hunting, it was shown how a lioness was shot right in front of her cubs. This caused a lot of uproar and the South-African government wanted to prohibit canned hunting. Ultimately, the government lost the court case against the people responsible, which legalized canned hunting in South-Africa. The government can now only act if biodiversity is threatened, which is currently not the case.

Is there nothing we can do to stop canned hunting? There certainly is, but the issue is that the amount of people protesting is not large enough to make an impact. Fortunately, the organization ‘FOUR PAWS’ has started a petition against canned hunting. They will send a letter to the South-African government to request making this practice illegal. The only thing they need is enough signatures: you can help by signing the petition on: