Animal breeders in South Africa are being accused of genetically engineering white lions with blue eyes just so big game hunters can boast about killing them.
South African ranchers charge hunters 100 times more for the “honor” of butchering an unusually colored animal, such as a white lion, a golden wildebeest, a black impala, or a coffee-coloured springbok. In turn, the trigger-happy killers are queuing up to earn some exclusive bragging rights and pick up a rare trophy to stick on their wall.
Bloomberg reports that animals are being engineered to produce a highly unusual and distinctive look that’ll get hordes of hungry hunters all excited about killing them from long range.
Despite suffering from horrific health problems, such as skin diseases, cancers, foot problems, and heat stroke, these genetically modified creatures are a lucrative prospect for the safari organizers. For example, to take the life of a blue wildebeest you’d have to pay £600 for the privilege, but if you’ve got your heart set on killing a blue wildebeest, then the price just went up to £33,000.
Shooting a lion is never cheap at £10,000, but if you want to bag a trophy blue-eyed white lion, then you’re talking £20,000.
Barry York, who owns a ranch about 135 miles east of Johannesburg, said, “My first priority is to generate an income from the animals on my land. We breed them because they’re different. There’ll always be a premium paid for highly-adapted, unique, rare animals.”
According to the Daily Mail, Africa Hunt Lodge, a U.S. based tour operator, said on its website, “What we offer is not an average or budget minded African Safari. The majority of our Africa hunt packages are 7-10 days for 5-10 animals…. this allows our hunters to hunt without overabundant pressure, and time to see plenty of African game animals.”
Despite the continued popularity of hunting in South Africa, actual numbers of large game animals that populate the grasslands have increased, leading ranchers, such as Barry York, who switched from raising cattle to breeding big game to the conclusion that, “Conservation is a by-product of what I do.”
However, hunter and conservationist Peter Flack has described white lions and the other animals with unusual colorings, who the NSPCA claim would not survive for long in the wild, as, “Frankenstein freaks of nature that have nothing to do with conservation and everything to do with profit.”
York responded to Flack’s claims by saying all his animals were created by mother nature.
“They say these are Frankenstein animals, but where’s the test tube, where’s the lab? Sure, the golden colour is a rare characteristic, but it occurs in nature.”
Talking of freaks, the notorious Czech hunter Michaela Fialova,who travels the globe just to kill things and then post pictures of herself with their corpses on Facebook, is currently in South Africa with a big gun.
She has already posted pictures of herself with a giraffe, hyena, and waterbuck. So it’s probably only a matter of time before we see her next to a dead white lion.