Ricky Gervais, PETA’s 2013 Person of the Year, is using his extensive reach on Twitter to rally support for a “Global March for Lions” on March 15th.
The worldwide campaign is meant to draw attention to the practice of “Canned Hunting” – in which animals are raised and bred for the specific purpose of then being hunted within an enclosed area (read: no escape).
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 24, 2014
“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.”
To say informed as to where marches around the world will take place, check out the official Facebook page for the campaign here.
Some addition facts on Canned Hunting courtesy of March for Lions and Lion Aid below.
Canned Hunting Basics
· 160 (and counting) lion breeding farms in South Africa
· Female lions are forced to produce up to three litters per year (one litter every 3 years is the norm in the wild).
· The cubs are removed shortly after birth and the mother is forced into the next pregnancy.
· The “orphaned” cubs are marketed by recruitment agencies in the UK, USA and worldwide to the “volunteer” market – unsuspecting people (in their droves) sign up to stay at these farms for two weeks or more (costing them circa £1,200 per fortnight plus their airfares). They are led to believe they are helping conservation and these cubs will be put back into the wild when they reach adulthood.
· At the farms, further income is generated from cub petting, photographing and walking with the lion cubs. The paying volunteers often avoiding the need for the farms to incur staffing costs to man the operation.
· Once the cubs reach maturity, the males (at about 3-4years) and the females (once they can no longer produce the new cubs in the “puppy mill” operation listed above) are sold the canned hunting operators.
· Canned hunting is where the human habituated lion is put into a field and a tourist hunter comes along in his landrover and shoots it dead. Sometimes the lion is partially anaesthetised beforehand. It offers no resistance. It is a tame lion. The lion is shot through the body (to preserve the trophy quality) and the lion often dies an agonising death, particularly if the tourist is a bad shot and has several “goes” to kill the lion.
· The tourist hunter goes home with his trophy and the lion carcass is sold into the lion bone trade for the Chinese Traditional Medicine market.