About us

Blood Lions NPC is a registered NPC (No. 2018/332365/08), NPO (No. 210-080) and PBO (No. 930062678) with Ian Michler, Nicola Gerrard and Dr Louise de Waal making up the Board of Directors. Blood Lions NPC was established to campaign for the closure of the commercial captive predator industry in South Africa. 

The captive breeding of lions in South Africa started in the 1990s, when the demand for lion trophies increased. The industry started small but increased substantially in the early 2000s to its current size of about 350 captive facilities holding at least 8,000 lions, as well as thousands of other predators including leopards, cheetahs, caracals, and servals, and exotics species such as tigers, jaguars and pumas. 

These wild animals are bred in captivity for a range of commercial activities:

  • The “canned” or captive hunting of predators for their trophies.
  • The non-consumptive tourism and voluntourism sector offering activities such as cub petting, hand-rearing of cubs, walking with subadults.
  • The trade of lion bones, parts and derivatives to Southeast Asia for the traditional medicine market.
  • The live trade of predators, predominantly to Asia, for captive breeding and/or to commercial zoos.

Blood Lions’ main goal is to protect wildlife in general – and predator species in particular – from cruelty, exploitation and commercial practices, which are not only harmful and disrespectful, but also legitimises a demand and desire for abusive and unethical uses of wildlife.


Blood Lions aims to achieve its mission and vision by:

  • Supporting and promoting the conservation of wildlife, especially lions, in their natural habitat.
  • Supporting and working with the scientific community, in particular through predator research.
  • Promoting global awareness of the unacceptable and unethical commercialisation of wildlife.
  • Educating the broader public, in particular the youth through our Youth For Lions campaign, about the commercial predator industry and how to make ethical choices.
  • Promoting responsible tourism and voluntourism practices that endorse and protect authentic, responsible and wild experiences of species in their natural habitat.
  • Actively conducting research to fill knowledge gaps in the commercial predator industry and publishing the results in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Lobbying governments and other authorities to effect policy change around the captive breeding of wildlife for commercial purposes.
  • Working with other organisations and stakeholders to shift perceptions and opinions, and to precipitate policy change.

Since the launch of the Blood Lions® film and the campaign in 2015, considerable progress has been made towards the closure of the commercial captive lion industry. In particular, Blood Lions active role in research and lobbying, as well as the appointment of one of its directors on the Ministerial Task Team in 2023, has led to some momentous successes, including the public commitment of the South African government to end the commercial captive lion industry.