‘Blood Lions – Bred for the Bullet’, a compelling documentary which takes audiences inside the canned lion hunting and predator breeding industry in South Africa, will premiere on South African television, on Discovery, channel 121 on Sunday 11th October at 22:00 pm.
‘Blood Lions’ follows acclaimed environmental journalist and safari operator Ian Michler, and Rick Swazey, an American hunter, on their journey to uncover the realities about the multi-million dollar predator breeding and canned lion hunting industries in South Africa. Since 1999, Ian Michler has been following this story, as he goes onto the breeding farms to witness the impacts that decades of intensive breeding is having on the captive lions and other predators.
The film shows in intimate detail how lucrative it is to breed lions, and how the authorities and most professional hunting and tourism bodies have become complicit in allowing the industries to flourish. There is also hope in their story as they cover the very latest developments with the Australian government announcing a complete ban on the importation of all African lion trophies into Australia.
In parallel to that, the documentary also follows Rick, who purchases a lion online from his home in Hawaii. He then travels to South Africa to follow the path most canned hunters do. ‘Blood Lions’ also speak to trophy hunters, operators and breeders, as well as recognized lion ecologists, conservationists and animal welfare experts.
‘Blood Lions’ came about about four years ago, when in 2011, Pippa Hankinson visited a private lion breeding farm for the first time. Here she found approximately 80 lions in small enclosures, many visibly inbred and clearly stressed. She was deeply disturbed by her experience. Determined to find out more, she learnt that there were between 6,000 and 8,000 lions living in similar conditions on other breeding farms around South Africa – part of a multimillion-dollar industry – where the majority are sold into the captive/canned lion hunting industry or to Asia to supplement the “tiger bone” trade. Most shocking of all was not only that the industry was legal, but how few people seemed to know anything about it.
A documentary seemed the most effective way to raise awareness around the exploitation of these captive-bred lions, but never having made a film before, Pippa set about gathering a proficient and committed team of professionals around her. Along with the extraordinary generosity and support of individuals and organisations from around the world, they helped her make this film.
Pippa often quotes Martin Luther King Jr. when he said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. Animals have always mattered a great deal to her, but Africa’s wildlife and particularly lions, are very close to her heart.
‘Blood Lions – Bred for the Bullet’ is a story that will blow the lid off claims made by the operators involved in attempting to justify what they do. Last year alone, over 800 captive lions were shot in South Africa, mostly by wealthy international hunters under conditions that are anything but sporting, and every single day in South Africa, at least two to three captive bred or tame lions are being killed in canned hunts. Hundreds more are slaughtered annually for the lion bone trade. The ‘Blood Lions’ story is a compelling call to action to have these practices stopped.
‘Blood Lions – Bred for the Bullet’ will premiere on South African television on Discovery, channel 121, on Sunday 11th October 2015 at 22:00pm.
Screenings of the film will also be shown at the following venues:
In Mpumalanga on 12 October at 18h30, Uplands College – White River, and on 13 October at 18h00, Southern Cross School, Community Centre, Hoedspruit. As well as in Durban on 15 October at 18h30, Ster Kinekor – Musgrave.