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NEWS: One of the largest travel operators in Africa pledges against wildlife exploitation in tourism

Last week Friday, Thompsons Africa, a global leader in travel and tourism, dedicated the entire day to watching the award winning feature documentary, Blood Lions®, with over 100 employees in attendance. This included the signing of the ‘Born to Live Wild’ global pledge not to support exploitative wildlife interactive tourism.


Since the Blood Lions® film premiered in July 2015, the Campaign team, together with key partners around the world, have made great strides in their efforts to raise global awareness around captive lion breeding, ‘canned’ (captive) hunting and the lion bone trade to Asia. Upholding the values of responsible tourism, Thompsons Africa’s pledge formalises their stance against these activities.


Says Alessandra Alleman, CEO Thompsons Africa, “We are very proud to partner with Blood Lions in creating awareness around the canned hunting industry. It is important that our people understand why we say no to our customers when they request experiences involving walking with lions, cub petting and other forms of animal interactions. Tourism in South Africa is about our wildlife and nature and we want to keep it that way! We want generations of families from all over the world to continue to see our wonderful wildlife in their natural habitat…. not caged or being handled by hundreds of people each day. We pledge our support to the Blood Lions campaign and we pledge to continue to create awareness in holding up the values of sustainable tourism.”


Thompsons Africa support Blood Lions and its aims and acknowledge the following:
  • The established predator research and scientific community do not recognize any of the breeders or operating facilities as having conservation merit.
  • In marketing themselves as breeding facilities, these entities confuse the conservation messages and priorities, specifically with lions, which in turn results in a misdirection of vital funding that negatively impacts wild lion populations.
  • There is sufficient evidence to show that their activities put additional pressure on wild lion populations: intensive breeders have illegally acquired new genetic stock from the wild, and the burgeoning lion bone trade remains a risk because of an illegal demand for bones from wild lions.
  • We are deeply concerned about the welfare conditions of the animals kept in these facilities.
  • Canned hunting does not reduce the hunting pressure on wild lions and is unethical.


Furthermore, Thompsons Africa commit to the following:

  1. To not knowingly book or otherwise support any breeder or operator that contributes to the cycle of breeding, exploitation and senseless killing of predators. This includes all petting and ‘walking with lion’ facilities.
  2. To continue our support and promotion of the formal conservation community in their endeavours to secure the survival of Africa’s predators in the wild. Without wild lions and the rest of the predator guild extant in functioning ecosystems, there will be no African tourism industry; a calamitous situation for many economies.
  3. To continue in our own endeavours towards wildlife conservation and economic development wherever we operate across Africa.
  4. To continue supporting an ethical and responsible interaction with Africa’s wilderness and wild animals.
  5. To continue promoting Africa as an authentic, wild and rewarding tourism destination.


“To have one of the largest tourism operators in Africa stand behind the ‘Born to Live Wild’ pledge and commit to promoting ethical and responsible tourism in South Africa is a huge step forward for the industry. We commend Thompsons Africa for pledging against these exploitative wildlife activities. Blood Lions is proud to partner with them in this campaign.” Pippa Hankinson, Blood Lions Producer.
In case of any queries regarding the pledge, please contact Blood Lions on or Thompsons Africa on