The US Fish and Wildlife Services have effectively ruled that Captive-bred lions serve no conservation purpose by banning any imports of captive bred lion trophy heads, skins, claws, teeth, and other lion parts from those kills.

Hand-reared lions cannot be released into the wild, according to wildlife experts and they also often suffer in captivity, with many hunters saying canned hunting violates the principle of “fair chase,” in which every animal has a reasonable chance to get away.

“This is huge,” says Ian Michler, investigative conservationist and the narrator of Blood Lions, a documentary released last year that exposed the canned lion industry.

Michler told Traveller24, “We need to applaud the decision by US Fish & Wildlife. Having them engage on these issues is significant as the vast majority of canned or captive hunters come from that country.”

“There are still loopholes and this does not mean that the number of canned lions into the USA will fall to zero, but we now have a legal framework that we can monitor and hold accountable.”

“Despite the growing global opposition, it would seem the breeders, SAPA and the authorities are still digging in. This is all about money so they will start looking for new markets – the Far East for example, and the lion bone trade and petting industries still remain sources of revenue. So the global campaign to end these horrors still has much work to do.