Canned lion hunting has come under increased scrutiny and criticism. Ranches in South Africa are accused of breeding lions and selling them to trophy hunters. Some of the ranches have been accused of hosting canned hunts on their land.
Over 160 farms in South Africa currently breed lions in captivity. Many of those farms have been accused of canned hunting, which is defined as hunting of game within fenced areas. While the ranch owners admittedly raise the lions, they deny their use or sale for hunting purposes.
One of the ranches under fire, the Moreson Ranch, advertises hunts that boast a “100% success rate.” They currently offer hunts featuring zebras, ostriches, wildebeests, and mountain reedbucks. Their website does not mention the hunting or sale of lions.
As reported by The Guardian, several animal welfare agencies have accused the ranches of raising and selling their animals for canned lion hunting. The farms are also accused of selling lions to contacts in Asia who use the lions to make traditional medications.
Canned hunting was made illegal in South Africa in 2007. The law stated that lions could not be hunted unless they were in the wild and had been in the wild for at least two years.
As reported by MSN, in 2010 the law was overturned, allowing canned hunting to resume. Facilities like the Moreson Ranch are now being accused of providing lions to trophy hunters.
The ranches apparently use the cubs to attract tourists, who are offered photo opportunities and the option of bottle feeding the young lions. When the lions mature, they are sold for hunting trophies or medicinal purposes.
Late last month, a lion smuggling ring was exposed in South Africa. The smuggling ring reportedly transported lion cubs to many of the local farms and ranches. As reported by MSN, the lion smuggling was part of an effort to keep the farms stocked with lions for the “trophy-hunting market.”
Canned lion hunting, while legal, continues to be a controversial issue as the number of lions in captivity exceeds those in the wild. Critics also denounce the practice as it ceases to be a sport when the animals are confined by a fence.
[Image via Flickr]