A pending court case on South Africa’s canned lion controversy is expected to have far-reaching ramifications for local hunters and several thousand lions – and possibly open a new and much uglier can of worms.
Well done to the South African police – they may very well have made another crucial breakthrough in their fight against the organized crime syndicates targeting the country’s wildlife. On Friday 23rd July, an individual that is extremely well known in the canned hunting and predator-breeding industries of the Free State was arrested.
Now that suppliers for the traditional Chinese medicine trade have depleted the world’s wild tiger population to fewer than 4,000 tigers, they are turning to lions as the main ingredient in the various health potions and wines previously made from tiger bones and body parts.
The hunting of captive bred lion is a million dollar industry. The killing of a male can fetch up to R250 000. Hunters from across the globe are lured to South Africa by outfitters offering Africa’s iconic predator as easy prey.
13 May 2007 – Hein Ungerer
In 1997 the ‘The Cook Report’ ripped the lid off lion hunting in South Africa. It showed how captive bred lions were being shot and the programme coined a new phrase – ‘canned lion hunting’.
A canned lion hunt involves an animal that is captive bred. It’s also hunted in an fenced area, where there is no fair chase of the animal. The lion might also still be drugged from being transported and sometimes it’s hunted from a vehicle and not on foot.
27 February 2005 – Hein Ungerer
‘In 1997, Carte Blanche broadcast ‘The Cook Report’. It blew the lid on canned lion hunting. The public was outraged and a moratorium was put in place to try and stamp out the practice across the country. But what most people don’t realise is that the moratorium was voluntary and, far from ending canned hunting, the practice of shooting captive bred lions has in fact flourished.’
24 March 2002
On 18 May 1997 Carte Blanche broadcast the Cook report, which exposed the practice of canned lion hunting in South Africa.
What really brought the horror of this practice home to viewers was the death of this female, nicknamed the Dark Lioness. She was separated from her cubs – on the other side of an electric fence – and then shot as a trophy by a German hunter.