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Travel companies call for an end to activities that exploit lions

Many leading ecotourism and safari companies, including Africa Geographic, came together during the Conservation Lab at Spier Wine Estate to call for an end to exploitative wildlife activities.

his comes in the wake of the recently released feature documentary Blood Lions that has brought the horrors of predator breeding, canned hunting and a variety of other exploitative activities to the world’s attention. The film is a compelling call to action to have these practices stopped.

Star of Blood Lions Ian Michler says, “Conservation Lab was an incredible opportunity to network with the wider safari and conservation community. As a result of discussions leading up to and during the event, the vast majority of safari operators attending have agreed to support a statement condemning predator breeding, canned hunting and the range of exploitative activities, such as cub petting and ‘walking with lions’, associated with these industries. This statement is a huge boost to the global campaign to end these activities. In addition, they are also showing their support for the legitimate predator conservation community and those operators offering responsible tourism activities.”

The undersigned African-based safari and eco-tourism operators support Blood Lions and its aims. Whilst predator breeding and canned hunting practices are currently confined to southern Africa, these operators stand together as a pan-African industry – joining their voices with the global call for having them stopped.

These companies strongly request that the respective authorities take note of the mounting global opposition to these practices and begin a process of shutting them down.

The established predator research and scientific community do not recognise any of the breeders or operating facilities as having conservation merit. In marketing themselves, breeding facilities 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.

There is a deep concern 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, the companies commit themselves to the following:

– To not 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.

– To continue 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.

– To continue in endeavours towards wildlife conservation and economic development across Africa.

– To continue supporting an ethical and responsible interaction with Africa’s wilderness and wild animals.

– To continue promoting Africa as an authentic, wild and rewarding tourism destination.

We invite all operators to join us in committing to these pledges. To do so, please contact Blood Lions on