The reality of Lion hunting in South Africa is gruesome and inhumane
Lion hunting, there is no need for it right? Well not for most of us but some ‘manly’ people take pride in hunting down viciou animals and then feeling good about themselves.
But focus on the words vicious and its implications; take for example tigers, lions, snakes, and wolves, a mere mental image of these predators is enough to send a shiver down your spine.
So the initial reaction is ‘sure hunting them should not be a problem’ but if you take out the Viciousness and turn them into helpless, weak and tamed animals who are often unable to defend for themselves, what now? Are they still worthy of getting shot and slaughtered for mere fun? Logic dictates a big No in this case.
South Africa’s economy heavily relies on its hunting business, the ‘industry’ is worth $70 million or £50million according to the reports in 2013. But as mentioned earlier this hunting is nothing like what we might imagine hunting as, this is merely shooting ducks; killing tamed animals that were kept almost all their lives in captivity.
A safari photographer who accompanied a group of American hunters making the videos of their ‘heroic’ kills spoke about the deplorable acts providing an insight into the business. The photographer Derek Gobbert went through the entire ritual of the hunting of what he called the ‘canned lions’.
Derek said that although the guides were continuously motivating the hunters to go for the kill, the hunters seemed calm and contained however the animals felt much at ease with humans chasing them, or simply being around them.
Speaking about the hunters that visit South Africa for hunting Derek said that most of these hunters are middle class white males who travel to South African parks and spend huge sums of money to enjoy the hunt.
Some of the animals are killed while hiding in the hole or behind the bush, as they never really learnt the art of defending themselves in the captivity. Derek summed up the whole modern hunting of tamed animals as ‘it’s all just a big lie’.
South Africa’s laws surrounding the whole hunting business is complex that moves around in various provinces under different pretexts. Canned lion hunting is illegal in the country; however captive-bred hunting is not just allowed it is often encouraged to promote tourism industry.
According to the chief executive of SAPA (South African Predator Association) Carla van der Vyver, the regulations around all kinds of lion hunting are very strict and special permits are issued after rigorous checks. Commenting about Derek’s video Carla said that if such an activity had taken place somewhere in South Arica it is not something that SAPA will ever approve of, and all necessary measures will be taken to ensure that said incident is not repeated.
The trophy hunting of tamed animals is not a thing that is restricted to South Africa alone; the whole world is going through a frenzy of trophy collection since the record began. Between the years of 2004 and 2014, a total of 1.7 million hunting trophies have been traded between different nations of the world.
Lion trophies are also a major recreation with a total of 11,000 lion trophies recorded between 2004 to 2013. The United States is officially the largest importer of the stuffed animals such as lion, bears, wolves, etc. while South Africa has been the top exporter for a long time now. In South Africa alone about 200 lion breeding facilities are fully functioning, housing and taming around 8,000 lions, simply waiting for the bullet with their names on it.