Tuesday, October 6, 2015 18:31

What Is Canned Hunting?

Canned Hunting

“CANNED HUNTING” is a legalized malpractice whereby rare and endangered animals – in particular lions – are removed from the wild, bottle fed, and petted by kids, then caged and hunted in captivity.

‘Canned hunting’ was first exposed in 1997, by the British investigative TV program, the Cook Report, since which time it has mushroomed into a massive mafia-like industry with vast international links.

Many animal welfare groups and conservation organizations have been campaigning for many years to have this malpractice outlawed, but no protection whatsoever has been offered by the South African government, and the killing camps continue to multiply in numbers.

Inbred and Raised to be Shot in Small Enclosures

In these captive breeding camps, conditions are appalling, many animals suffering from malnutrition and genetically inbred, and all treated as commodities, with a price on their heads. Some of these killing camps in South Africa have now set up links with the Chinese illegal medicinal cartels.

It is not an exaggeration to say: if this trend is not halted, lions in the wild and wildlife as we know it, will be erased from our future. At the epi-centre of the canned hunting industry is the fabled White Lion, regarded by indigenous elders as the most sacred animal on the African continent – yet trading now as the highest income-earning trophy.


1. Last year, a RESOLUTION was passed at the World Wilderness Congress in Mexico (1500 delegates from 51 countries) – to have the White Lions listed for protection by Governments and all appropriate bodies, because they are revered as sacred by indigenous peoples, and are an important part of natural biodiversity.

2. The Global White Lion Protection Trust has had ongoing engagement with government and presented twice to the South African parliament calling for restitution and protection of this unique animal, and we require now that government provides White Lions with protective status without further delay.

3. Currently, there is no legislative protection for the White Lions. They are being hunted in cages, using large caliber weapons, and they may be legally hunted in the wild of their endemic habitat. Indeed, these iconic animals can be wiped off the face of the earth, and no one would officially be committing any crime.

4. Due to aggressive speed-breeding for trophy-hunting purposes, 1000 lions were recorded as hunted in South Africa in 2008, and the number is estimated to have doubled in 2009 (See IFAW REPORT 2007, NSPCA REPORT 2009, MICHELE PICKOVER REPORT 2010.)

5. Lions numbers in the wild have crashed and a census in 2007, which estimated 100 000 lions in Africa, recorded less than 18 000. Studies indicate more drastic declines since then. Yet lions may be legally hunted in the wilds of the greater Timbavati region, the only place on earth where the White Lions occurred naturally in the wild. This has to change. And it can do so through direct involvement of a responsible public who is not prepared to see our global heritage destroyed.



1. Please do not support captive breeding centers, where cubs are open to the public for petting, as most of seemingly legitimate places are linked with canned hunting activities, and even many zoos around the world are directly or indirectly implicated in this catastrophe.

2. Remember, lions that are handled by humans may not be returned to the wild, as they are considered ‘human imprinted’ and viewed as dangerous. If you or your children handle adorable cubs in captive breeding camps, you are sealing the death warrant of those lions.

3. Keeping lions captive is NOT a means of conserving them. It’s like saying human survival depends of keeping innocent prisoners in detention without trial. The challenge at our time is to ensure the survival of rare animals in the wilds of their natural habitat – if our children are to see nature, and indeed a future.

4. Support programs who are genuinely reestablishing animals in their natural habitat, and protecting them there. (But be aware, places breeding lions in captivity are not returning them to the wild, despite what they may say).

5. Only support zoos which run genuine conservation programs for the wild:


  • Ouwehands Zoo (Netherlands)
  • SafariParc (Canada)