Tourists contribute to Lions future extinction.
Citizens around the globe last week rose up against the African canned hunting fraternity seeing many hundreds of thousands take to the streets from London, South Africa, even America and Australia and many more continents. Demonstrating against the repulsive and barbaric practice of canned Lion hunting and canned hunting in general. The Johannesburg march can be seen lower down the page.
Tourists from around the world that visit Africa are still failing to acknowledge the damage they are causing by visiting Lion petting farms and safaris that operate under the guise of “conservation”.
One safari that we took a brief glimpse into is Shingelani Safaris that has links to Texas, United States and is primarily based within Southern Africa. Shingelani Safaris states nothing on its website about petting farms nor directly encourages on its site tourists to participate in such petting. Hunting is though on the agenda of all Big Five. Shingelani Safaris has within its grounds many big cats and cubs of which tourists have been frequenting for some years. The Safari operator hosts many hunting operations netting many hundreds of thousands of Ran/Zar yearly. Rhino, Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, and Hippopotamus are just a few of the animals that can be hunted.
Tourists around the world seem completely oblivious to the financial support they are providing to these so called sanctuaries, conservation areas (all being fenced in) and safaris that organise summer camp visits. Shingelani is one of these safaris. Bengal Tigers, Lions, Cheetah, Leopard and Servel are just some of the captive breed cats that are being raised on Shingelani’s “sanctuary”. Are alarm bells ringing within your head yet? More to the point have you ever witnessed Tigers within South African National Parks roaming freely? No, then maybe you should ask Charmaine or Shingelani just exactly where these cats are ending up?
What YOU the TOURIST need to know about playing with Lion cubs:
Every year thousands of people visit facilities where they can interact with Lion cubs. Every day, a captive bred lion is killed in a canned hunt. The truth is that these Lions are the product of factory farming. The cubs are taken from their mothers so that she can produce another litter in six months’ time, as opposed to two years’ time, if she had the opportunity to raise her own offspring.
These factory farmed cubs are often kept in unsuitable cages with little regard for their social requirements. For a fee you can play and have your photograph taken with them. One South African female hunter Charmaine Vuuren didn’t pay much of course for her experience. She works for the hunting organisation Shingelani supported and sponsored by Dallas Safari, SCI, Professional Hunters Association of South Africa and Wild Sheep Foundation. Charmaine and co are pictured below.
What happens to these human imprinted animals when they have outgrown their usefulness? Because they are human imprinted and have been deprived of growing up in a natural social group they cannot be rehabilitated or sold to game reserves.
Do these Lion cubs benefit from this forced interaction? How can they!
What possible enjoyment can they derive from being pawed, picked up and being posed all day long, day after day, until they have grown too big? Are these animals part of breeding programmes that will save Lions from extinction? NO! These inbred, human imprinted and psychologically damaged animals have absolutely no conservation value. They cannot be rehabilitated into the wild. As I have previously explained how many Tigers do you actually see within the wild of Africa? You may see the odd one that has been let out into the wild that was once a pet. Not really a streak of Tigers though is it?
Captive Lions or any captive big cat cannot be used to supplement dwindling wild populations. They can be used as canon fodder in the canned hunting industry. Every reputable animal welfare organization in the world considers the practice of using lion cubs for human playthings as cruelty.
Lion cubs are by their very nature not gentle animals. Lion cubs used for petting opportunities are normally trained not to scratch or bite. How do you think a naturally boisterous animal is trained not to behave naturally? These cubs are sometimes even drugged!
What about your safety? Every year many people are injured while interacting with wild animals in petting parks. Why do you think that they want you to sign an indemnity or have signs stating that you play with these animals at your own risk? Do they warn you about the possibility of being infected with parasites carried by these animals, some of which can be deadly?
Next time you are presented with the opportunity of playing with a lion cub, first ask;
- Where are the cub’s mothers?
- Why aren’t they being raised by their mother?
- Where do the cubs come from?
Often, operators rent lion cubs from bigger breeding farms. What happens to them when they grow too big? If they are rehabilitated Where have they been rehabilitated and is there supporting documentation?
Once they have been rehabilitated, do they have the opportunity to live out their natural lives, or is their rehabilitation just to facilitate their death at the hands of hunters? If they are sold to game reserves which game reserves (by name)? If they are part of a breeding program for what purpose?
What happens to surplus animals? The operators of facilities with Lion cubs often have all the answers, but if you start asking these questions you will at some point be faced with a hostile response.
At the end of the day it is up to you how you spend your money. We urge you to practice responsible tourism. If you are compelled to play with a Lion cub that has been stolen from its mother and is subject to stressful and unnecessary handling day after day, please do so with the knowledge that this is probably why it has been bred and what will happen to it! In reality your hard earned money that goes into supporting Lion farms ends up coming out with a dead animal. Most likely a Lion as pictured below killed in between February and March 2014 by US hunter Jeremy Conklin.
Moving back to Charmaine the hunting organisation that she works very closely with she tends not to leak this information onto her Facebook profile or make it too public most likely in the hope that no one will locate what she is supporting and destroying. In fact if one looks at Shingelani website you can clearly see that there is also a slight difference in the name pictured on Shingelani site to that of her Facebook profile – of course this is not really an issue however we are trying to show how these individuals try to conceal and not make much of a public display with regards to their hobbies and work. Lion breeders and petting farm owners, safaris that participate in such horrid activities tend to keep rather quiet and are secretive too. To many questions asked raises suspicions as to whom you are. Petting farms and hunting nets big financial gain, if you’re seen to be trying to hamper such activities or destroy them you are then classed as an (anti-hunter) or attacked outright.
Global March Against Canned Hunting in Johannesburg can be viewed below.
Behavioural effects on captive animals from human interaction;
The majority of studies carried out imply that safari and zoo visitors induce stress within a wide range of captive animals. Under no circumstances should any member of the public pet animals, feed them or be encouraged by the owners to participate in handling animals. Evidence also states that the vast amount of research carried out generally points to a negative effect and that the way in which an individual animal reacts to people will be reliant upon its species or the individual. Many studies agree that visitors are of a harmful influence for some primates (Hosey, 2000), (Wells, 2005) and (Fernandez et al., 2009). Generally this confirmation shows itself in the appearance of variations in behaviour associated with human visitors (Carder and Semple, 2008). Hosey et al.
A 2010 study by the Plymouth Student Scientist stated (2010) describes behavioural indicators of stress including, increased abnormal behaviours, especially stereotypies, more intra-specific (between cage-mates) aggression and inter-specific (human directed) aggression. Increased activity is also mentioned (or sometimes decreased activity), along with lower instances of affiliative behaviours like grooming. Morgan and Tromborg (2007) highlight the detrimental effects of chronic stress responses on the long-term health of captive animals. They describe consequences such as, immunosuppression, poor reproduction and self-injurious behaviour. One would be led to think that such “Safaris” that operate under the guise of “conservation” and being as they say “scientifically literate” would be aware of such disturbances in behaviour and health. It seems not though with regards to Shingelani Safaris.
Where do these cats come from?
Tigers, Lions, Cheetahs and other cats are mostly bred on captive farms dotted around safaris or within the safari grounds itself. There are though more sinister and quite worrying concerns as to where many of these cats are deriving from though. For example the Bengal and Sumatran Tiger we have noticed breeders within Botswana and South Africa breeding and selling from various sites around Africa. Please view the links below.
The SPCA a highly professional and recognised organisation quotes below the implications of “trading and owning exotic pets”.
The contentious issue of the trade in, breeding and the keeping of exotic wild animals as pets in South Africa has not only deeply disturbing welfare implications for the animals concerned, but, just as importantly, is a significant threat to conservation and biodiversity.
The practice of importing and exporting wild animals as pets has been happening for decades. Much of the trade is driven by purely whimsical impulse purchases and for prestigious reasons. Entertainment fads often determine which wild animals are the fashionable pets of the moment and everything from the smallest reptile to a full-grown tiger can be sold to anyone for the right price.
However, most owners don’t realise the huge responsibility or costs involved when they purchase exotic pets. Nor do they consider what is going to happen to these animals when the novelty wears off.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, second only to the drugs and weapons trades in terms of its gross worth. Millions of animals are forced into the exotic pet trade every year for the purpose of becoming someone`s pet or entertaining the masses in a circus or zoo.
While some wild pets have been bred in captivity, many exotic animals are plucked directly from their native habitats. The animals kept in captivity represent only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what is killed in the catching and transportation process. These animals are often smuggled illegally in horrific conditions, and those that survive often suffer a variety of illnesses or injuries due to being kept incorrectly by ignorant owners.
Although as babies these animals might be cute and easier to maintain, they usually grow into dangerous adults with unmanageable needs where life in a domestic environment rarely satisfies their natural desires. Additionally, as exotic animals grow, their needs for food and space increase, sometimes astronomically. When it gets to that stage, the once-loved pets often end up in cages where they are neglected or abused and it`s not unusual for exotic pets to be malnourished and stressed. They also tend to develop behavioural issues that can lead to bites and attacks or even self-harming. Such animals typically are confined to small cages, passed from owner to owner, or disposed of in other ways. There are not enough reputable sanctuaries or other facilities to properly care for unwanted wild animals.
Exotic animals in captivity are bred intensively to supply the demand, or create colour morphs that are sought after for their novelty value. Unwanted exotic pets can end up back in the exotic pet trade but some are released into the wild where, if they survive, can disrupt our local ecosystem..
Owning an exotic pet comes with some real health implications, too. Reptiles and amphibians carry salmonella, and more than 74,000 cases of salmonella poisoning are linked to these pets each year in the United States alone. Exotic pets like monkeys and rodents often carry viruses like herpes B, monkey pox and rabies, all of which are highly infectious and potentially fatal to humans. Exotic venomous snakes need specific anti-venom which hospitals in South Africa do not have. Exotic venomous snakes have been found in the wild in South Africa. This is a huge threat.
There`s also a wider issue of the global social and environmental responsibilities that we have to consider. Removing wild animals from their natural habitats negatively affects delicate ecosystems and biodiversity which rely on those species to further the life cycle of plants and keep animal populations in check. Habitat destruction and the trade in wild animals are the two largest threats to wild animals worldwide.
Countries across the world are being systematically drained of wildlife to meet a booming demand for exotic pets and there`s rarely a happy ending for the animal.
Exotic pet owners, pet shops and facilities that keep and display exotic animals perpetuate the exotic pet industry. They encourage people to think that it is okay to have these animals as pets and this means that other people, often less well-equipped and knowledgeable, think it is okay to have an exotic animal as a companion.
These remain wild animals that do not take comfort from living in a household. These animals have to be caged and denied their natural behaviours to form part of “the family”.
By supporting the exotic pet trade you are supporting animal cruelty. Read more in the link below.
Canned hunting is a fast growing business in South Africa supported by many international tourists. As much as we continue to push this awareness into the public domain evidence has clearly shown that the canned hunting business has increased dramatically.
Lions and other big cats are the most sought after. Breeders remove the cubs from their mother so that the Lioness will quickly become fertile again, as they squeeze as many cubs from their adults as possible – five litters every two years. For an animal that is usually weaned at six months, missing out on the crucial colostrum, or first milk, can cause ill-health. “These breeders tell you they removed the cubs because the mother had no milk; I’ve never seen that in the wild,” says Pieter Kat, an evolutionary biologist who has worked with wild Lions in Kenya and Botswana. “Lions and Tigers in captivity may kill their young because they are under a lot of stress. But the main reason breeders separate the young from their mother is because they don’t want them to be dependent on their mother. Separation brings the female back into a reproductive position much faster than if the cubs were around. It’s a conveyor-belt production of animals.”
Breeders argue it is better that hunters shoot a captive-bred Lion than further endanger the wild populations, but conservationists and animal welfare groups dispute this. Wild populations of Lions have declined by 80% in 20 years, so the rise of Lion farms and canned hunting has not protected wild Lions. In fact, according to Fiona Miles, director of Lionsrock, a big cat sanctuary in South Africa run by the charity Four Paws, it is fuelling it. The Lion farms’ creation of a market for canned Lion hunts puts a clear price-tag on the head of every wild lion, she says; they create a financial incentive for local people, who collude with poachers or turn a blind eye to illegal Lion kills. Trophy-hunters who begin with a captive-bred Lion may then graduate to the real, wild thing.
“It’s factory-farming of lions, and it’s shocking,” says Miles. She began working to protect Lions after watching a seminal documentary about canned hunting. “The Lion all around the world is known as the iconic king of the jungle – that’s how it’s portrayed in advertising and written into storybooks – and yet people have reduced it to a commodity, something that can be traded and used.”
We have compiled this short article to clearly illustrate how these farms run, how tourists are supporting such a trade, and the negative impacts of what Lion farming has on the wild Lion populations. Least forgetting to that many safaris are not what they make out to be. You the tourist must start questioning these safari operators and supporting us and other organisations that are working quietly to close these operators down.
Since 2012 -2014 Lion farming has increased dramatically thanks to the unsuspecting members of the public that visit such safari operators. The ongoing capture of wild lions to introduce fresh blood into captive breeding will negatively affect the wild population, while the the explosive growth of the Asian lion bone trade, fuelled by canned hunting, will impact severely on wild lions through an increase in poaching. Tourists are directly contributing to Lions and other bigs cats future extinction. Although Lions are not as yet “endangered” the sheer decline in wild population numbers coupled with the increase in Lion and canned hunting businesses will evidently see such stunning cats banished from the African continent. Canned Hunting and breeding farm operations must end now. No excuses. We are killing our species of by funding the very people we are trying to stop. It makes no sense.
The media above depicts another threat to the Lion species. International Animal Rescue Foundation Africa endeavours to show all sides to the story so that all areas of conservation are lobbied. Habitat fragmentation, climate change, human species conflict and the counterfeit Tiger bone trade (Lion bone) are primary conservation welfare concerns of which we must address on an international scale.
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Speak Up for the Voiceless.Org a conservation and environmental organisation publishes articles raw from the investigative room. We endeavour to ensure that all articles are factual and true to the best of our knowledge. We keep on record unpublished all proven and factual documentation for cross examination should public scrutiny occur. From time as with many organisations mistakes can be made or typos. Please contact us below within the comment box should you view such mistakes with proven data so that such errors can be rectified.