Cape Town – Canned hunting and exploitation of captive lions has gained unparalleled support and awareness through Blood Lions documentary – bringing to the world’s attention to the horrors of predator breeding and activities using lions and other species.

As a result, Blood Lions says tourism industry leaders have collaborated to initiate a worldwide Born to Live Wild” pledge against the predator breeding and canned hunting industry –  presenting a united front that includes the most significant tourism organisations and travel companies around the world.

One such organisation to join has been the African Travel and Tourism Association.

Nigel Vere Nicoll Chief Executive for Atta says, “Atta’s members are deeply involved in African wildlife. This association supports all efforts to stop unacceptable practises involving wildlife within our industry.

“Blood Lions exposes the exploitation of captive bred lions, deceiving unsuspecting but well intentioned tourists and volunteers. It forms part of nature’s bigger picture that demonstrates that if we do not ‘keep wildlife wild’ under our watch, future generations will have been deprived of one of this planet’s greatest assets.”

Blood Lions says it is proud to be able to launch the “Born to Live Wild” pledge, which has become a central part of what the overall campaign is trying to achieve.

It announced that as a follow on from the initial pledge ‘document’, a new page has been added to the website, where an official “Born to Live Wild” logo can be downloaded and all partners, who have already committed to actively being part of the solution.

Those who have joined the pledge include National Geographic, African Bush Camps, Thompsons Africa, Singita, & Beyond, Asilia Africa and Sanctuary Retreats.

Fair Trade Tourism recently took the decision to work with prominent NGOs and tourism industry stakeholders to revise and implement new criteria focussed on “voluntourism” involving vulnerable people and wildlife interaction – finalising an extensive review of criteria for tourism businesses with volunteer offerings, which came into effect from June 1 2016.

Travel and Tourism operators who want to join the Born to Live Wild” pledge can click here and subscribe to the vital actions from the international travel and tourism industries, as set out below:

1. To not knowingly book or otherwise support any breeder or operator that contributes to the cycle of breeding, exploitation and senseless killing of predators. This includes all petting and ‘walking with lion’ facilities.

2. To continue our support and promotion of the formal conservation community in their endeavours to secure the survival of Africa’s predators in the wild. Without wild lions and the rest of the predator guild extant in functioning ecosystems, there will be no African tourism industry; a calamitous situation for many economies.

3. To continue in our own endeavours towards wildlife conservation and economic development wherever we operate across Africa.

4. To continue supporting an ethical and responsible interaction with Africa’s wilderness and wild animals.

5. To continue promoting Africa as an authentic, wild and rewarding tourism destination.

“As a conservation organisation that works with so many volunteers it is great to see a firm stance being taken by the Tourism sector to put a stop to not only the abuse and exploitation of wildlife, but of volunteers and tourists to Africa. 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,” said Dr Simon Morgan, Director of WildlifeACT Fund, and a key driver around this campaign.

“Lions and other predators are wild species and we wish to continue promoting Africa as an authentic, wild and rewarding tourism destination,” said Ian Michler, Consultant and Lead Character for Blood Lions.

“Since the release of our first pledge statement at the Conservation Lab, the response from the global tourism industry has been overwhelming – they want to be involved with bringing an end to predator breeding, canned hunting and the exploitation of lions and other predators in commercial activities.

“We cannot claim to be responsible operators if we continue to support unethical activities, and we cannot claim to be selling authentic wildlife experiences or supporting conservation if we are sending visitors to captive lion facilities across southern Africa.”

“The ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge is a clear indication of the commitment to advocate responsible tourism by opposing exploitative wildlife interactions, and to endorse South Africa as an authentic wildlife destination. Fair Trade Tourism’s recent revision/implementation of their volunteer criteria to promote responsible and ethical volunteer programmes has been very well received,*” said Producer and driver behind the film, Pippa Hankinson.