Lion cub pimping (volunteering)
The South African captive lion breeding industry find new and ingenious ways every day to exploit lions. A very popular way to do so is to lure mainly international young people to volunteer in South Africa and help raise and care for lion cubs that will be supposedly returned to the wild. This industry along with the intensive handling of lion cubs for photographic opportunities have become know as “animal pimping.
It is not just lion cubs that are exploited in this manner, but various other large and small predator cubs as well. South Africa has numerous “petting parks” and breeding facilities that supply cubs to the pet trade.
Those that promotes these unethical practises claim that: “It’s a must-do tourist attraction and every year thousands of people visit facilities where they can hug a cub – South Africa’s latest plaything. ‘We play with them, they keep us amused and we keep them amused.’
What most volunteers do not realise is that the beautiful little cubs they mistakenly believe they are hand rearing for conservation purposes and release back to the wild is more likely to end up as a hunters trophy or to be butchered to supply a growing demand for lions bones to the east asian markets. Maybe some volunteers do know, but are simply as cruel as the volunteer projects owners and really do not care what actually happen to the lion cubs on the long-term as long as they get the short-term opportunity to play with the young animals.