Born Free is absolutely opposed to the cruel practice of canned hunting, and campaigns to end the captive breeding of lions and other predators for canned hunting and other forms of commercial exploitation.
Canned hunting is the hunting of wild animals (mostly lions) in a confined area from which they cannot escape. In South Africa, it is not only legal, it is flourishing.
8,000 or more captive-bred lions and other predators languish in as many as 300 breeding facilities, where they are exploited for profit at every stage of their lives. Unwitting paying volunteers are recruited to help hand raise captive-bred lion cubs, on the false premise that they will be released into the wild as part of a lion conservation initiative. Tourists pay to take selfies while petting cute cubs or walking with lions.
Ultimately many of the animals will be transferred to canned hunting facilities to be shot by paying trophy hunters, and their bones and other body parts will be sold into local and international trade, often through illegal traders and traffickers.
The animals involved are habituated to people from an early age, often through being hand-reared and bottle-fed, so they are no longer naturally fearful of people, making them easy targets for a rifle or bow when it comes to the hunt.
The international community has called on South Africa to shut down its canned hunting and commercial predator breeding industry, many hunting organisations condemn the practice, and even the South African government recognises that the industry makes no contribution to wildlife conservation and is entirely profit-driven.
After years of pressure from Born Free and others, the South African government finally seems to be listening, and has published draft policy papers on wildlife management which include plans to close down the lion breeding industry. Most recently, the Minister for Environment established a Task Force to advise on how lion breeders might be persuaded to leave the industry voluntarily.
Born Free believes that if South Africa is to be regarded as a responsible and ethical custodian of its wildlife, and a country that cares about wildlife elsewhere in Africa and across the globe, urgent action needs to be taken to bring an end, in an intelligent and humane way, to the captive breeding and canned hunting of lions and other wild animals, and the sale of their bones and other body parts into international markets.
There is a long way to go, but we are working hard with our partners in South Africa and beyond to make this vision a reality.
IS THE END OF CANNED HUNTING IN SIGHT?