Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Canned Hunting

They call it ‘canned hunting.’ also known, as ‘captive hunting’ has been widely condemned by animal-rights groups

South African ranchers breed lions in captivity, from cubs to adults, then release them just after the arrival of a hunter who pays about $15,000 for a kill. Sometimes the animal is drugged to make it easier game. Sometimes it’s lured by fresh meat to a place where the hunter lurks. Sometimes the lions are so accustomed to humans that they amble up to the person waiting to kill it. Not surprisingly, the success of these hunts is 99 percent. South Africa has about 6,000 captive lions. They are born in cages and often rented out to petting operations when they’re young. When they grow into adults, their value as hunting targets increase.

“The animals are normally kept in small cages and released just before being shot,” said Teresa Telecky, director of the wildlife department for Humane Society International. “They hang an animal for the lion to kill, and the hunter lays in wait for a guaranteed kill. More people are becoming aware of it.” 

Almost nine of 10 lions shot in canned hunts are killed by Americans. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared that it will make it much harder for American hunters to import the slain animals’ heads — their trophies.  France and Australia have already banned lion trophy imports.

3,600 captive lions bred for trophy hunting at more than 170 facilities in South Africa in 2009. The industry often publicizes captive breeding as a potential solution to the dwindling populations in the wild. But lions bred in cages rarely have the tools and behaviors to survive on their own, according to scientific research. African lions numbered in the hundreds of thousands in much of the last century but now total only about 20,000. They are haunted by a range of issues: people expanding into their habitat, the widespread human slaughter of animals they prey upon for bush meat, and government-sanctioned hunts for permits that fetch up to $400,000 each.

There is no stopping it if there is a dollar to be made.

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