Here at Snuggle Coats we are not only anti fur, but opposed to any form of animal cruelty and this is why we will be attending the Global March for Lions next Saturday. So what is the Global March for Lions about? It is about bring awareness to an intensive, cruel and inappropriate hunting practice – Canned Hunting.
Canned Hunting is a trophy hunt in which a wild animal is kept in a confined area, from which they cannot escape, increasing the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill and in South Africa, this barbaric practice is flourishing.
Hunters from all over the world, but notably from the United States, Germany, Spain, France and the UK, flock to South Africa in their thousands and send home lion body parts, such as the head and skin, preserved by taxidermists, to show off their supposed prowess.
The animals involved are habituated to human contact, often hand-reared and bottle fed, so are no longer naturally fearful of people. Such animals will approach people expecting to get fed, but instead receive a bullet, or even an arrow from a hunting bow. This makes it easier for clients to be guaranteed a trophy and thus the industry is lucrative and popular. Anyone can go and hunt lions in South Africa – a hunting licence or proven hunting experience isn’t necessary. This often means that lions are not killed by the first shot, which results in them experiencing an agonising death.
Volunteers are flying to South Africa and helping to raise lion cubs in the belief that they are going to be released back into the wild, only for those lions to be used purely for the canned hunting purposes. These farms are often advertised as wildlife sanctuaries to lure foreign volunteers under the pretence of helping to save a species.
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; however this is not the case. 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. Many of the animals bred for the canned hunting industry (which fetch between $5,000 to $50,000 per head - for a male lion with mane) suffer defects due to inbreeding – rickets, back and eyesight problems.
After the ‘petting’ stage of raising these cubs, the lions are trained to walk with one group of tourists, one after another, day in, day out. This familiarity with humans simply means that they will not run away when the client walks up to them to kill them.
When these lions become too big to be trusted to walk with tourists, they are returned to the breeder to be crammed into overcrowded enclosures, to be grown out until they reach huntable size.
For trophy hunting in South Africa, lions are bred on more than 160 farms. In the last six years, the number of farm lions has risen by 250 percent. Today, around 6000 captive animals are threatened with the same gruesome fate – more than ever before. South Africa has an estimated wild lion population of approximately 1200 lions.
So this Friday or Saturday –depending where you live – join us for The Global Lions March 2015. For more information please make sure you visit organiser Feline Foundation webpage http://www.felinefoundation.org/events/ Sarah does amazing work raising money for partner charities around the world, who rescue unwanted domestic cats, and work in preserving the big cats of Africa.
Remember: The more people that attend, the louder our ROAR.