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Blood Lions’, exposing dark underbelly of canned hunting to screen in Sydney

Documentary feature film “Blood Lions”, which exposes the ugly story of South Africa’s captive breeding and canned hunting industries, will be screened in Sydney, Australia on Friday, 4 September. The screening comes at a time when the Australian government is discussing a complete ban on the importation of all African lion trophies into Australia.

The producers of the film, Wildlands and Regulus Vision, secured global distribution for the highly praised film with PBS International. In South Africa, the rights for the film are being handled by Indigenous Film Distribution.

“This is a rare and exclusive event,” says Helen Kuun. CEO of Indigenous Film Distribution. “The Sydney screening will be attended by Ian Michler, the environmental journalist and safari operator who has the lead role in the documentary, as well as the film’s producer Pippa Hankinson. A Q&A session and panel discussion will be held after the screening, giving the audiences further insight into the dark underbelly of the canned hunting world.”

“Blood Lions” follows 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.

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 documentary reveals the full extent of the notorious industry, which serves no conservation purpose of the species whatsoever.

The “Blood Lions” story is a compelling call to action to have these practices stopped. Currently, almost 8 000 predators are being held in cages or confined areas, and none of this has anything to do with conservation. If no action is taken, that number could well be over 12 000 within the next few years.

Michler has followed the story of captive bred lions since 1999. The documentary follows him as he goes to breeding farms to witness the impacts that decades of intensive breeding is having on the captive lions and other predators.

Aggressive farmers and most within the professional hunting community resent his questioning, but the highly profitable commercialization of lions is plain to see – cub petting, volunteer recruitment, lion walking, canned hunting, trading and the new lion bone trade are on the increase. All are justified under the guise of conservation, research and education.

At the same time, “Blood Lion” also trails Swazey, the hunter who purchases a lion online from his home in Hawaii. He then travels to South Africa to follow the path of canned hunters. Trophy hunters, operators and breeders, as well as recognized lion ecologists, conservationists and animal welfare experts also feature in the comprehensive documentary.

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.