canned lion hunting

Canned Lion Hunting : In South Africa, Lions Bred Specifically for Trophy Hunting

In South Africa, the Lion and thousands of wild animals are bred each year for the sole purpose of being killed by wealthy hunters. In all legality. 😡

What Is Canned Hunting in South Africa ?

The practice of canned hunting was born in the 1980s. As wildlife became scarcer, trophy hunters realized that they needed much more time – sometimes up to three weeks on safari – to shoot a lion in Tanzania, Namibia or Zimbabwe,” explains Sergio Lopez, founding president of the NGO Wildlife Angel. The South Africans saw a good opportunity: why not breed lions especially for hunting? The clients – most often North Americans – can then go back and forth in a day, kill the animal, and leave.”

And it pays off! In this lucrative feline version of pigeon shooting, it will cost you between $15,000 and $30,000 to shoot a lion with Mukulu African Hunting Safaris, depending on the size and color of its mane (compared to $3,000 for a giraffe or $7,500 for a hippo). Lions on sale at Discount African Hunts: “only $25,000 instead of $30,000”, it says on their website.

loodt butcher
Loodt Büchner and his prey: his clients pay $10,000 to kill 10 animals in 10 days.

From Greenwashing to Trophy Hunting

The system is well established,” explains Sergio Lopez. Breeding farms – under the guise of participating in the conservation of the species – pamper the big cats and welcome tourists in adjoining lodges. Up to 4 or 5 months old, they can pay to bottle-feed the cubs. When the animal grows up, these farms organize walks with the cats or jeep tours to admire them. Then when the feline reaches 3 years of age, it can be sold to these famous hunting farms, where it has no chance of making it.”

Depending on the source, South Africa has between 160 and 200 such establishments in its territory (breeding and hunting farms combined). The Kevin Richardson Foundation, partner of the film Mia and the White Lion, estimates that some 10,000 lions have been killed in these conditions. Their bones are then exported to Asia (China, in particular), to be used for pseudo-medicinal purposes.

It should be noted that breeding for hunting is far from being a South African specificity. In France, the association for the protection of wild animals denounces in particular the release of game and puts forward on its website impressive figures: “19 million pheasants and partridges are raised each year in France, intended to satisfy the desire for easy shooting.

Walter Palmer lion hunter
American dentist Walter Palmer (left) with the lion Cecil, the animal he paid £32,000 to kill in 2015.

The Lion, a Threatened Species According to the IUCN


Once widespread in North Africa and the Middle East, Panthera leo is now known to exist in only 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and is rare outside protected areas. One subspecies, Panthera leo persica, is found in the Indian state of Gujarat.


Approximately 20,000 in the wild on the African continent, and 500 in India. Numbers have decreased by half in the last two decades.




Savannas, dry tropical forests and sparsely wooded.


Reduction of hunting territory and game, tensions with humans over livestock, poaching (illegal trade in body parts for pseudo-medicinal purposes), trophy hunting.

Kendall jones lion killer

How Can We Save Lions ?

Cecil, this poor lion savagely killed by the American dentist Walter Palmer. This has to stop! You can take action and spread your word around the world! we need a massive wave of global support. Join the movement!

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