Saturday, September 10, 2016

Canned hunting

Hunting is big business for South Africa - it was worth $70m (£50m) in 2013.

Every year hundreds of lions are bred in captivity across South Africa for the purpose of being placed onto private game reserves for hunting.

Derek Gobbett, a safari cameraman who makes a video souvenir for the hunters who pay thousands of dollars each to shoot a lion says the way they went about was neither fair nor legal - that it was something known as "canned lion" hunting - more of a duck shoot than a lion hunt. "Eight lionesses were released [from captivity] literally the day before the clients arrived - in fact four were released as the plane was landing just down the road," Mr Gobbett told the BBC. "We shot that first lion probably within half-an-hour," he said. "Right from the start, the guys are told it's very dangerous - that these are wild animals… and of course they take it all in."

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says in the decade between 2004 and 2014, 1.7 million animals were killed for their "trophy". At least 200,000 of them were threatened species such as elephants, rhinos or lions. FAW found that the US was the biggest importer of stuffed animal heads, while South Africa was the biggest exporter - and lions were by far the most traded. At least 11,000 lion trophies have been traded worldwide in 2004-13. The IFAW report says there are between 6,000 to 8,000 lions kept in captivity in South Africa, in up to 200 ranches.

Environmental campaigner and journalist Ian Michler, explained, "We're domesticating our lions. We are breeding them now under intense agricultural conditions just so people can kill them under these circumstances."

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