“The End of ‘Canned Hunting’ Looks Imminent”

Stephen Wiggins Article 14 Comments

African Lion Working Group

Update: African Lion Working Group (ALWG) ‘finally’ joins the Professional Hunters Association, South Africa (PHASA) in condemning  “captive-bred (‘canned’) lion hunting.”


The turning tide: Blood Lions v lion breeding and canned hunting,” Daily Maverick, 13 December 2015

“But now comes the real test……”

“From now PHASA will be judged not on their statement but their actions – how they go about it from here. Are we going to see them actually take on errant members? Are we going to start seeing the collapse of canned hunting and the closing down of breeding farms? We wait to see. The point is that the hunting industry has had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table to make this decision in the face of what the world sees as appalling, horrific, and without any conservation merit” 

– Ian Michler (‘Blood Lions’

The End of Canned Hunting Look Imminent,” Africa Geographic, 19 November 2015

Breaking news has also come out of the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa (PHASA) AGM. A motion has been passed that disassociates PHASA with the captive-bred lion industry until such a time that the industry can convince PHASA and the IUCN that the practice is beneficial to lion conservation. This came after canned lion breeders and supporters were apparently outvoted 147 to 103.

The ability of the  “captive-bred lion industry” to provide any ‘proof’ that the practice is “beneficial to lion conservation” is of course ‘doubtful’ to put it generously.

If there is truly to be a transition away from the ‘established canned industry’ (an industry with a turnover approaching $100m USD in South Africa alone), then there will be strong resistance of course from those that profit from it. No doubt, ‘efforts’ will be made within the industry to maximise profits directly from “petting,” “lion walks” and ominously, the animal parts trade to Asia. This latter ‘business’ will only help to potentially fuel increased demand, thus the vicious circle continues……..

The argument that will be used against ‘us’ is that we are forcing the potential destruction of some 8,000 animals (including 7,000 lions) held in ‘canned’ farms, because “if it can’t pay (from hunting etc.), it can’t stay.”

So, the question is, where in ‘our’ vision will all these ‘canned’ animals get re-homed, rehabilitated and their long-term care funded from? Releasing many previously ‘canned’ animals into wild habitats is not an easy option – these ‘canned’ animals are hand-reared, captive specimens not ready for the wild (and probably never will be). Plus, through poor breeding management, many ‘canned’ animals are genetically mutated and could ‘pollute’ wild populations without due consideration/measure taken.

‘We’ (the ones calling for the ban of ‘canned’ farms) need to have a clear strategy, stance, statement on the best transition away from ‘canned’ farms we want to see, which will include of course ‘us’ seeking to fund sanctuaries, rehabilitation and a credible alternative to support these animals long term (rather than the animals remaining subject to other exploitative profit making schemes).

I for one applaud the potential ending of ‘Canned Hunting,’ but my question is, what happens next to protect (long term) those animals held in ‘canned’ farms from the ‘canned’ entrepreneurs’ next animal exploitation/money making fall back position?