Canned hunting: what are the alternatives?


The barbaric canned hunting industry does not benefit wildlife or conservation and Born Free is calling for it to be brought to an end. Wildlife tourism is a vital income and employment source across Africa, but there are alternatives. 

Photographic safaris can be a positive alternative to canned hunting. Shooting an animal with a camera, rather than a gun will not only save that animal’s life, but that animal will continue to generate funds through photographic tourism for years to come. In Kenya it is illegal to hunt wildlife and ecotourism has hugely benefitted Kenya’s economy. Many jobs have been created and wildlife is protected from the damaging impacts of hunting for ‘fun’.

Born Free’s Head of Policy, Dr Mark Jones says: “Responsible ecotourism offers a much more acceptable and sustainable income-generation model, which combined with other funding strategies and with equitable distribution of the benefits, can go a long way to halting and ultimately reversing the devastating declines in wildlife populations we are seeing, and which canned hunting and other destructive use models have utterly failed to tackle.”

Volunteering opportunities overseas are plentiful but require careful research to ensure they are genuine and have a conservation value, rather than just exploiting wildlife for commercial gain.

In South Africa, paying volunteers are recruited to help hand-rear captive-bred lion cubs under the false impression they are orphans that will eventually be released into the wild. Unfortunately, most volunteers are misinformed and completely unaware of the true fate of the cubs, and the consequences of handling them. This leads to further exploitation from activities such as petting, selfies and lion walking, before they are shot by paying hunters and their body parts sold. We urge the public to think carefully before volunteering or visiting a wildlife facility. Information about volunteering and the projects Born Free supports can be found on our website.

We want to prevent the suffering of wild animals in captivity and encourage people to report their concerns to us, whether at home or overseas. Eyewitness reports provide us with vital information which we may be able to use to raise awareness, conduct further investigation or use in our ongoing campaigns to help wild animals in need. If you would like to report something you have seen, please visit Raise the Red Flag and complete the online form. 

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.


Image © Ian Michler