Ban the Importation of African Lion Trophies

African Male Lion photo by Beverly Joubert

African Male Lion photo by Beverly Joubert

Australia Bans the Importation of African Lion Trophies

Last Friday, at the Global March for Lions in Melbourne’s Federation Square, Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced a ban on the importation of lion trophies to tighten down the heinous practice of canned hunting. Effective immediately, Australians who hunt and kill lions in Africa will be stopped from bringing hunting trophies back into the country.

Mr. Hunt stated, “Canned hunting is real. It exists, It shouldn’t exist.  It is about raising the most majestic of creatures for a singular purpose and that is to kill them, to shoot them for pleasure and for profit.  It is done in inhumane conditions. It is involving things such as raising and then drugging and in many cases, baiting. It is simply not acceptable in our day, in our time, on our watch.”

Trophies from elephants from safari hunts were already on the banned list of imports to Australia and rhinoceros trophies were added last year. The ban on the import of trophies from African lions by Australia sends an important message internationally that Australia will not support the possible extinction of the African lion.

Canned Hunting Does Not Protect Wild African Lions

In South Africa, there are an estimated 160 lion farms breeding more than 5,000 lions a year to feed the demand of cruel trophy hunters from the USA to China. These canned hunts are poorly regulated and the intensive breeding of the lions and their later transfer to be murdered are inhumane.  Canned hunting operations allow incompetent  marksmen to shoot lions with high powered rifles or a bow. In many cases the lions are only wounded by the amateur hunter and have to be killed by a professional marksmen, making the lions suffer a long and painful death.

Canned hunting operators boast they are protecting the future of wild lions by breeding lions for  trophy hunters. But this is not true.  The vast majority of trophy hunters only take the skin or the head of the lion leaving the bones and the bones are a valuable commodity to the medicine markets of China, Laos, and Vietnam.  This growing source of revenue from the lion bone trade is thought to be leading to an increasing level of poaching of wild African lions.

The thought among conservationists is that the mostly legal trade in bones from farmed lions killed in canned hunts could provide a cover for the illegal trade in wild lion bones and perhaps even tiger bones too.  DNA analysis could give important indications of the presence of wild lion remains because the farmed lions are likely to be more genetically uniform than wild lions. But wouldn’t it be best to just stop the cruel canned hunts altogether?

The Exploitation of African Lion Cubs

cub being hand fed

Young lion being hand fed

Canned hunting businesses exploit lion cubs and young lions to support their revenue stream.  There are tourist attractions in South Africa offering the opportunity to spend time in close contact with cubs and young lions.  Many of these operations claim to be conservation programs and even have volunteers help look after the lions.  But the truth is much more sinister.  These lions are being socialized to trust humans so that when they are placed in front of a brutish trophy hunter they will be easier to murder with a rifle or bow.  These lions associate humans with food and survival until they are betrayed by the people they learned to trust. But that lesson comes too late for the lions.

It is simply not acceptable in our day, in our time, on our watch

Mr. Hunt’s words certainly ring true don’t they? “It is simply not acceptable in our day, in our time, on our watch.”  We as a people know better.  We need to do better.  Australia took this step.  Come on, United States, do the right thing.

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  1. Elizabeth Flynn says

    They need to ban the *Canned hunting businesses*! They should take the people running these hunts and participating in them, and use them as the targets! This really makes me ANGRY.

  2. katboxjanitor says

    Kudos to the Australian government for taking this action. I hope more countries join that parade ASAP!

    I wonder how someone who appears to be human could be doing something like canned hunting.

  3. Canned hunting is evil, pure and simple.

  4. da tabbies o trout towne says

    Joanne; I could not agree more….applause and kudos to Australia…..

    WAKE UP….. United States….


  5. Canned hunting is so sickening. I’m glad the Australian government is taking a stand.