Canned hunting, the hunting of wild animals in a confined area from which they cannot escape, is not only legal in South Africa, it is flourishing. Hunters from all over the world, but notably from the United States, Germany, Spain, France and the UK, flock to South Africa in their thousands and send home lion body parts, such as the head and skin, preserved by taxidermists, to show off their supposed prowess.
The animals involved are habituated to human contact, often hand-reared and bottle fed, so are no longer naturally fearful of people. Such animals will approach people expecting to get fed-but instead receive a bullet, or even an arrow from a hunting bow. This makes it easier for clients to be guaranteed a trophy and thus the industry is lucrative and popular.
This video is to a notorious piece of footage of a lioness shot by an arrow from a hunting bow in June 2012.
It makes disturbing viewing. The lioness is clearly not scared of people, but is probably unnerved at the strangers in the vehicle staring at her. She dashes past the vehicle on a few occasion, and returns to the small tree she has been sitting beside, in an enclosure with very little cover. She is seen rolling on her back, obviously comfortable enough around people to put herself in this vulnerable position. Then, from the safety of his vehicle, the hunter releases his arrow. The lioness writhes on the ground, roaring, for several seconds. She tries to run off and falls over. Then, she appears to be still. The film ends before we see if that single shot killed her.
For more background information about trophy or ‘sport’ hunting, challenging the claims that trophy hunting raises funds for conservation please see here
Contact the South African government
Attempts to get the canned hunting of lions banned in South Africa have failed. However, it is still important to let the South African government know the public’s anger and distress at the continuation of canned hunting, the damage this can cause to South Africa’s international reputation, and the impact it could have on tourism.
Ms Magdel Boshoff
Director General’s office, Environmental Affairs
Private Bag X447