Local actress and wildlife advocate Pearl Thusi is collaborating with ‘Humane Society International/Africa’ to warn tourists not to visit tourist attractions that offer lion cub petting and lion walks in South Africa.
These facilities breed lions in captivity, often under harsh conditions, exploit them and then sell them for canned hunts or for Asia’s lion-bone trade.
Thusi and HSI/Africa launched their ‘Snuggle Scam’ campaign today, on ‘World Lion Day’, with video of Thusi’s visit to a lion cub-petting and lion walk tourist attraction in Gauteng.
The ‘Behind The Story’ presenter witnessed first hand how easily tourists can be manipulated into financing the cruel captive-breeding lion industry.
HSI/Africa then took Thusi on safari, where she could see lions roaming free in the wild.
“I’m so humbled and proud to be a part of the HSI family,” said Thusi. “It’s been my life’s dream to make a change for wild animals and be part of the system that loves, appreciates and protects them. I pledge to do my best to learn, grow and fight for the rights of Africa’s wild lion and all animals that need the same assistance.
“Now that I know the truth behind the captive lion breeding industry and the sad exploitation of these lions from birth to death, I am horrified that this is how we treat the king of the jungle. We should promote Africa as an authentic, wild and rewarding tourism destination and not support this industry. I know that together we can all make a difference and improve things for wildlife and humanity,” says Thusi.
The “Snuggle Scam” initiative comes in the wake of South Africa’s announcement that it would nearly double its lion bone export quota from 800 to 1,500 skeletons, and as the South African parliament prepares to host a colloquium on captive lion breeding on August 22-23.
Visit www.hsi.org/bloodlions for more information.