What was the genesis of Blood Lions? How, when and by whom was it founded?
The inspiration to make the Blood Lions® film came some years ago when Pippa Hankinson, the producer of the film, visited a captive lion breeding farm in South Africa for the first time.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was horrified to discover nearly 100 of our most majestic and iconic of wild species being held captive in rows of small enclosures in such shocking conditions,” says Hankinson. It was clear that the lions were being mass-bred and, in a few instances, cross-bred with tigers to produce so-called “ligers” and “tigons”. The stress of the animals was palpable and it was clear to Pippa that few welfare or conservation protocols were being adhered to. “Even to my inexperienced eye, inbreeding was evident, with many of the animals displaying physical abnormalities.” On returning home, she immediately set out to find out more about the predator breeding industry, and what was going on behind the high fences of these farms hidden away from public scrutiny.
After a year of intense research, it was apparent that very few people were aware of the full extent of the industry. Pippa felt strongly that the world needed to know, and decided that a film would be the fastest and most expedient way to create global awareness around what she saw as being total exploitation. “I was not a film maker by profession, so I knew I needed a very special team who not only had the skills to help me, but who also shared my vision,” she recalls.
A small but incredibly passionate and dedicated team came together and they immediately started filming. Working tirelessly for two and a half years, the team travelled around South Africa visiting numerous captive predator breeding farms, and conducting interviews with experts linked to all aspects of the industry.