Lion cub in a facility in South Africa

Breeding cruelty: how tourism is killing Africa’s lions


The welfare of thousands of lions is under threat from unethical tourism practices throughout Africa.

Many tourists are unwittingly creating demand that subjects lions to a lifetime of misery from the moment they are born.

Lion parks are becoming increasingly popular across southern Africa as tourists can get up close and personal with a lion for a once in a life-time encounter. But these lion cubs are intensively bred and separated from their mothers at just a few weeks old to be used as photo props and ‘lion walks’ as they get older.

Sadly this is big business with the number of captive-bred lions in South Africa doubling to at least 5,800 between 2005 and 2015.

Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns – Australia and New Zealand for World Animal Protection

“From the moment they are born, lions in tourist parks are destined for a lifetime of cruelty.

“We know that tourists visit wildlife attractions because they love animals, but many are unaware of the harsh reality they face. By stopping the demand for these popular attractions, we can end the relentless despair faced by captive-bred lions.”

Unlike conservation programs, commercial lion attractions do not boost wild population numbers as these lions can never be safely release into the wild.

The fate of adult lions, who are too large and dangerous to be used for lion walks is one of cruelty. They are either euthanized, kept in increasingly crowded conditions or sold for profit.

While lion parks deny supplying captive-bred lions for ‘canned hunting’ most possess little knowledge of what happens to the lions after they are sold.

You can help lions and other wild animals that are suffering at cruel tourist entertainment attractions by pledging to be an animal friendly traveller.

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