There are two sides to every story, and two sides to the lives of animals in the tourism industry. Many of the baby animals we find so irresistibly adorable and pettable, live a life or torment.
The opportunity to pet, hold, bottle feed, and play with cute orphan lion cubs sounds irresistible to animal lovers.
Well-meaning visitors pay big bucks for the privilege of “helping rear motherless cubs.” Many of these people are led to believe they are playing a part in conservation efforts, that these little tykes will live to be returned to the savanna one day.
But the reality is much darker. Shortly after birth, the babies are taken from their mothers, causing extreme stress to the cubs and the mother alike. This is done to facilitate immediate breeding again for the mother.
Unlike in the wild when lionesses produce a litter every 2-3 years, in the lion “industry”, they are forced to produce 2-3 litters a year!
Once the “cute factor” has worn off and they become a bit larger, they either move on to the next stage of the tourism industry-walking with tourists, or go straight to the breeding stage to perpetuate the cycle.
Finally, the females are used for continuous breeding (no different from puppy mills). The males are catalogued-their photos taken and displayed in a brochure or in an online list for hunters to choose from. They spend their final moments in small, crowded enclosures awaiting their death.
Is this conservation? Is this how the most majestic creature in Africa meant to live?
With lion numbers in severe decline from habitat loss, disease, and hunting, they should be afforded protection, not treated as a commodity.
Please note, there ARE genuine sanctuaries dedicated to the protection and conservation of the species. NONE of them allow the perpetuating of the species for human entertainment (i.e. petting, picture-taking, hunting).
Please read, sign and share the following petition: President Zuma: Banned Canned Hunting