This is an excerpt from an article written and published online by SA People News on 10 August, 2022

Today is World Lion Day (10 August) – a day to celebrate one of Africa’s most iconic species and to raise awareness on conservation issues globally.

Lions are recognised worldwide for their importance not only from a nature conservation and ecological perspective, but also symbolically, culturally and in terms of tourism.

The significance and dignity of wild lions in South Africa have been replaced by the commodification of captive lions at every stage of their lives.

Currently, 8,000-10,000 lions and thousands of other big cats, including tigers and cheetahs, are bred and kept in captivity in approximately 350 facilities in South Africa.

These predators are bred for commercial purposes, including cub petting, voluntourism, “canned” hunting, the lion bone trade and live exports.

In honour of World Lion Day, a short video clip was produced by Blood Lions to highlight one stage in the exploitative cycle, namely the cub petting, where thousands of tourists and volunteers pay to play with, bottle feed and hand-raise captive-bred predator cubs. These unsuspecting tourists and volunteers are made to believe that their money will contribute to the conservation of wild lions and that the cubs they interact with will be returned to the wild.

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