March 2014: Tomorrow (15 March) the so-called sport of shooting tame, trapped lions will be in the spotlight. An unprecedented 55 marches across the world will simultaneously call for it to be banned in South Africa.
Called The Global March for Lions this world event will begin with a screening of a global prayer, led by Archbishop Tutu and his daughter Reverend Mpho Tutu at each venue, including one in London.
The London march has been co-organised by LionAid and photographer Paul Tully, and starts at 3pm at various locations. Eight separate marches will then arrive at the South African Embassy in Trafalgar Square, at 4pm, for speeches.
Philip Mansbridge, CEO of Care for the Wild, said: “Trophy hunting of any kind is deplorable, but Canned Hunting is particularly pathetic and vile. There is no skill, bravery or honour in any animal killing, least of all when they’re practically tame and trapped in an enclosed area.
“No wonder Canned Hunting is known as South Africa’s Dirty Little Secret. Lionesses are forced into an abnormal number of pregnancies to produce cubs. Then the cubs are raised, often by naïve overseas volunteers, in farms where tourists can come and have their photos taken with the animals, thinking that they are doing their bit for conservation.
“Finally, when the cubs are too old to pet, they are taken off to an enclosed location where they wait for their turn to be shot by some hero. And of course, the hero will want the head as a trophy, so the lion gets shot in the body, probably dying a slow and painful death.”
There is no legal definition for canned hunting but generally lions get bred in captivity, hand-reared for use in the cub petting industry. Then when these tame lions are big enough, they are shot in an enclosure often drugged, for an enormous sum of money.
The target animal is unfairly prevented from escaping the hunter, either by physical constraints (fencing) or by mental constraints.
White lions are particularly targeted because of their rarity. Linda Tucker, CEO of the Global White Lion Protection Trust said: “The lion crisis impacts on all of nature. If we don’t as a matter of dire urgency restore the rights of pride and dignity to the King of Kings, other magnificent wild beasts which have flourished for hundreds of thousands of years – like the Rhino – will ultimately be treated as a commodity, removed from their wild systems and bred in captivity to be killed for short-term gain.”
To make it worse bones from the dead lions are then sold into the Asian medicine trade, which then leads to increased demand and more wild lion poaching.Wild populations of lions are in deep trouble, already extinct in around 25 African countries with the West African lion being dangerously close to complete extinction.
The march has two aims; to ban canned hunting in South Africa and to pressurize national governments to stop the importation of lion parts.
The marches will be taking place at cities all over the world on march 15 (click here to find more information and your nearest)