Born in captivity. Cuddled for cash. Saved from the bullet. This is the story of ‘Hilts’ the lion.
Born in a lion breeding facility in South Africa, ‘Hilts’ was most likely taken from his mother when just a few days old and hand-reared by unwitting, paying volunteers. Tourists would have paid to take selfies while petting him, and when he became older, to walk with him. He would then have been used for breeding purposes.
At this stage in his life, most lions in his situation would be transferred to canned hunting facilities to be shot by paying hunters, then their bones and other body parts sold for traditional medicines.
But this is where ‘Hilts’’ life changed. ‘Hilts’ was rescued and is now in our care.
The canned hunting industry is brutal, dangerous and tough – for animals and humans. We can’t reveal his real name, or where he is now*. But we can tell you that, for the first time in his life, ‘Hilts’ is in a safe and secure location where no one can hurt him again.
‘Hilts’ is a fortunate lion. His future was a bullet, an arrow, a spear, or whatever weapon his killer would have paid to use. Now it’s a life free from harm. He deserves the best possible future.
Please donate today to help provide a future for a fortunate lion.
*To protect his identity, we are not using any close up images of ‘Hilts’. However, you can see a picture of him at the bottom of this page.
Hand-rearing cubs, cub petting, walking with lions, canned hunts. The canned hunting industry doesn’t end when a lion is killed.
South Africa has been exporting lion bones and skeletons from captive lion breeding facilities since 2008. Between 2008 and 2015, it declared exports of more than 5,000 lion skeletons, mainly to the Far East.
In November 2018, a parliamentary committee called on the South African government’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to bring an end to the captive lion breeding industry. In March 2019, the DEA ignored the parliamentary committee and retrospectively issued permits to what had previously been illegal breeding farms.
Responsibility rests with the South African government to close down its lion breeding and canned hunting industries, to bring an end to the international lion bone trade, and to ensure that the closure process is conducted humanely and compassionately for the animals concerned.