This is an excerpt from an article written by Michael Biesecker and published online by IOL on 12 February, 2020.
Washington – An undercover video recorded by animal welfare activists shows vendors at a recent trophy-hunting convention promoting trips to shoot captive-bred lions in Africa, despite past public assurances by the event’s organisers that so-called canned hunts wouldn’t be sold.
Investigators for the Humane Society of the United States captured the footage last week at the annual convention of Safari Club International in Reno, Nevada. SCI is among the nation’s largest trophy-hunting groups and its yearly gatherings typically draw thousands of attendees and hundreds of vendors selling firearms, overseas safari trips and items made from the skins and bones of rare wildlife.
In the video captured by the Humane Society last week, tour operators said the lions for sale were bred in captivity. Typically, the lions are raised in cages and small pens before being released into a larger fenced enclosure. Once reaching young adulthood, customers pay to shoot them and keep the skins, skulls, claws and other body parts for trophies.
“They’re bred in captivity. They’re born in captivity, and then they’re released,” a salesman for Bush Africa Safaris, a South African tour operator, says on the video. “There’s guys who are going to tell you something different on the floor, they’re going to bulls—t you, that is what it is.”
Salesmen from two other safari operators also confirmed they had captive-bred lions for sale, including advertising a bargain-rate of $8 000 (R120 000) for a ranch in South Africa. Multi-day safaris for hunting wild lions can easily cost 10 times that – money that hunting advocates say helps support anti-poaching and conservation efforts in cash-strapped African nations.