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Canned Lion Hunting


Sign our petition against canned hunting in South Africa!


The most extreme variety of trophy hunting is “Canned Hunting”. Most of the victims are lions, which are served to their hunters on a silver platter: The animals which are born in captivity are taken away from their mothers within hours of being born so they can be used in petting zoos. When they become of age they then spend the rest of their life in caged compounds waiting to be released in a larger compound for the so called ‘canned’ hunt. 


This barbaric practice guarantees a kill as the habituated lion has no where to go inside the ‘can’ or enclosure where it is shot.   The animals can’t escape from the cages. Occasionally they are attracted with bait, sometimes they are even sedated with medicine.


Anyone can go and hunt lions in South Africa – a hunting licence or proven hunting experience isn’t usually necessary. This means that many lions aren’t killed by the first shot which results in them experiencing an agonising death, this is often the case when hunters choose to kill the lion using a bow and arrow.


For trophy hunting in South Africa, lions are bred in 200 farms, usually raised by hand and accustomed to humans. Today, around 6000 captive animals are threatened with the same gruesome fate – more than ever before. South Africa has an estimated wild lion population of approximately 1200 lions.


First pet …


Unwitting tourists visit these farms and pay money to look at or touch young lion cubs. That they are thereby supporting a horrific industry, an industry that even many hunting associations reject as being unethical, is something that most of the tourists don’t know. The farms often advertise as wildlife sanctuaries to lure in foreign volunteers under the pretence of helping save the species. 


… then shoot


When the lions reach the trophy age of  four to seven years they are then deemed appropriate to be sold for a trophy canned hunt. In many cases the ‘hunting’ isn’t carried out on the same farm that the animal was bred at. Instead the lions are transported to other areas and shot there. Most of the breeding and hunting stations in South Africa are located in the provinces Free State, North West and the Limpopo.

Canned Hunting is a hobby for a well-off minority from rich industrial nations. The larger the wallet, the larger the trophy. A male lion with its magnificent mane can cost  as much as £25,000, while animals with particularly dark, thick manes go for up to £45,000. On some farms, even the cubs are offered for shooting.


To create the ultimate lion trophy, farmers have to maintain a diverse gene pool when breeding. Due to whistle-blowers in both  South Africa and Botswana we now know that wild lions are being smuggled and sold to these farms to ensure this genetic diversity is reached.


Complete hunting packages, which include the “support” of professional hunters as well as room and board, are offered on the internet, at hunting trade fairs or in specialist travel agencies. The transport costs and expenses for the animal preparer are also paid.


But not only lions fall victim to the trigger happy hunting tourists. In order to offer hunters special trophies some farms even breed and offer tigers for hunting, even though the animal isn’t indigenous to South Africa. Leopards and cheetahs are also common big cat species on these farms.