The 8th December 2019 saw 30+ Lions and Leos from the Brackenfell Lions Club – South Africa and Brackenfell Leos jailing the District 410A Governor and a mystery guest at the Pick n Pay Hyper in Brackenfell. This was our first ever Captive Lion awareness day. District 410A will hold more awareness days once a month or bi-monthly in 2019.
Why is it so important to raise awareness about captive Lions?
According to the global Blood Lions campaign, the demand for canned hunting has plummeted in the last few years. But captive and wild Lions are now increasingly being killed for the bone trade. The bones are dropped into rice wine vats and sold as tiger bone wine which is promoted in Asian markets as a treatment for rheumatism and impotence.
This District project will be going on until we have reached R 100.000. Lions are volunteers, we are not paid and Lions Clubs all over the world spend 100% of any donation made to them back into the projects. No costs whatever are deducted. The District leaders will decide how to spend the money that we raised.
Join us on our Captive Lions Awareness Day on Saturday, 8 December 2018, at the Brackenfell PicknPay from 11:00 to 13:00. More than 10 000 Lions are held in captivity in South Africa. At the same time, less than 20 000 Lions still exist in the wild in the whole of Africa. South Africa, one of only 7 hotspots with more than 1000 Lions, counts less than 2 000. As members of Lions Clubs International, we have the responsibility to save our iconic Lion species. District 410A is looking to raise R1000 per Lion on behalf of the Project Lions4Lions.
The Brackenfell Lions & Leo’s will be taking and jailing the District 410 A Governor on the 8th of December at Pick n Pay Hyper Brackenfell at 11 am. They will only release him on a minimum bail of R10 000.
Raising the awareness of the plight of our Lions in Africa
In 2018, more than ever captive bred Lions are currently living behind bars in South Africa in estimated 300 facilities. Raised in captivity at hidden breeding farms or at public scamtuaries, some of these animals are petted as cubs by tourists, who feed and care for the young lions or even walk with them. Once the animals are too old for petting/walking, they are sold to canned hunting outfitters. While Canned Hunting becomes less attractive, breeders simply slaughter their Lions for their bones to be sold to Asia.
Our Lions are in need and we need to do our best to save our iconic symbol
The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs adopted the Report of a two-day colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding. Thecolloquium on Captive Breeding of Lions for Hunting and Lion Bone Trade was held from 21 – 22 August 2018.
The practice of captive lion breeding both for hunting and lion bone trade has caused much uproar against South Africa’s Captive Lion Breeding Industry. Certain members of the cruel Lions Breeding Industry are now excluded by international pro-hunting organisations. Amongst these organisations are the SAFARI International, the Dallas Safari Club and the European International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC). The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) had also raised concerns about captive lion breeding for hunting.
The DEA should put an end to this practice
The Report contains voices of representatives of local pro-hunting and conservation organisations as well as international organisations. Many spoke against the industry. The DEA should urgently initiate a policy and legislative review of Captive Lion Breeding. The Minister of DEA should submit quarterly reports to the committee on the progress of this policy and legislative review.
The committee would like the Department to reconsider the decision to increase the lion bone trade quota. It was emerging during the Colloquium that the increase to 1500 skeletons was driven by commercial considerations. This reconsideration is necessary given the huge public sentiment expressed against the increase in lion bone trade quota. The committee’s position is to protect South Africa’s esteemed conservation image, but more fundamentally the Brand South Africa.
The Parliamentary Colloquium on lion farming in SA by Chris Mercer.
Chris Mercer has been re-reading the transcript of the submissions made to the Portfolio Committee of Parliament, 6 months after the Colloquium on lion farming in Cape Town recently.
The arguments advanced on behalf of the hunting industry make one wonder if they were written by a five-year-old child. In fact, they were made by senior officeholders of hunting associations. Tragically, unbelievably, these puerile arguments are accepted as gospel by conservation structures in South Africa. At least, they’re childish – you make up your own mind.
The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs hosted a two-day colloquium on captive lion breeding. The colloquium titled “Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country” took place on 21 and 22 August 2018. It gave stakeholders from across the board an opportunity to present arguments for and against captive breeding of lions.
A first positive result from the Colloquium about Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa: The Committee demands a revision of agreement between Kruger National Park and Private Reserves.
3 weeks after the Colloquium Captive Lion Breeding for Hunting in South Africa took place in Cape Town, a first positive result came out. The Committee chairperson, Mohlopi Mapulane said, that the aim of the event would be to facilitate a constructive debate around the future of captive lion breeding and hunting in SA. The colloquium titled “Harming or Promoting the Conservation Image of the Country” took place on 21 and 22 August 2018. It gave stakeholders from across the board an opportunity to present arguments for and against captive breeding of lions. Obviously, Mohlopi Mapulane does a great job so far.
Lions in South Africa are treated like livestock. They are classified as farm animals. Ca. 8.000 to 12.000 Lions live in captivity in most incredibly bad conditions.
The Lion farmers have ONE GOAL, to make money out of their livestock. This circuit starts at the volunteer projects. Volunteers pay to be able to raise young cubs, that are taken away from their mother a few days after birth. When they are too old to be fed, the animals are exploited on Lion walks. Once they’ve grown up, the end as cannon fodder for hunts and bone sales. Sadly, lions are often traded between the breeding facilities, the volunteer projects as well as the Canned Hunting farms.
They breed Lions to be sold as targets in Canned Hunts, where the animal is brought into a confined area, often just hours before the hunter arrives and often drugged, just to be shot by a wealthy person coming from Europe or America, recently also from Russia.
Now the cruellest part of the Lion exploitation begins
The confined animals are easy targets for these safari loving hunting tourists. They have no chance to escape.
The hunters pay up to $5.000 for a female and up to $40.000 to shoot a male Lion. Export of trophy heads is booming. But only 10 % of the farmed Lions are destined to be hunted. And the greedy breeders have discovered a new market.
Lion bones are now sold to Asia. A whole lion carcass can bring up to $7.000. Nobody at the SA government cares, what bones are sent to Asia, and nobody checks if the skeletons are complete with a skull or not. So, bones from trophies and bones from bred Lions are mixed in bags and sent to Asia.
Lion bones have replaced Tiger bones in Tiger Wine that is sold all over Asia. The South African Breeders claim, that they conserve the wild Lions, but all that happens is that the demand for the bones is steadily increasing. But why should the criminal syndicates that organize the bone trade buy expensive bones from breeders, while its cheap to poach wild Lions?
Wild Lions are under enormous threat. The species has lost more than 90 % of its range in the last 100 Years. If we don’t act, the species will surely be wiped out in 2050. Please help us to avoid wild lions losing their fight against extinction! Share and join our Facebook Group.
Video: Courtesy of .Brut Featured Image: Courtesy of The Guardian
Original Article August 2, 2018 – by John R. Platt – Article adapted for better readability Angry headlines around the world decried the news that the Trump administration had issued trophy-import permits for 38 lions killed by 33 hunters — including many high-rolling Republican donors — between 2016 and 2018. But the captive Lion bone trade is much worse. Experts worry this booming trade could doom the big cats in the wild.
The Lion species has experienced massive population drops over the past two decades. In 2016, the big cats got some protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Obama-era regulations still allowed some hunting. Imports of trophies were legal, as long as the host countries could prove that their hunts were sustainable. The Trump administration lifted that requirement last year and instead allowed imports on a “case-by-case basis.” Those 38 dead lions represent the Trump administration’s shift on hunting of endangered species.
A story that came out about the captive Lion bone trade around the same time was more worrying than these trophies. A leaked letter from the South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs revealed that it had nearly doubled the legal captive lion bone trade quota and it would allow the skeletons to be exported from the country. The quota went up from 800 to 1500 skeletons, a dramatic increase.
The captive Lion bone trade is worse
Unlike the lions that are slain by hunters, the South African bones come from the country’s 300-plus lion farms. Here, the big cats are raised — often in terrible conditions — for use in “caged hunts.” There, according to the 2015 documentary Blood Lions, foreign hunters pay as much as $50,000 to shoot semi-tame lions in small, walled-off, inescapable encampments. The heads and skins from these caged hunts become trophies. The rest of the bodies are shipped to Asia. There the bones are ground down to be used as “medicine” and as a component in wine. There is no medicinal quality in lion or tiger bones.
These factory farms are believed to contain about 8,000 to 12,000 captive-bred lions. An astonishing number compared to the fewer than 20,000 lions estimated to still live in the wild throughout Africa. South Africa itself is estimated to hold fewer than 2,000 adult wild lions.
Where does this demand for lion products come from? Experts say the increase in the lion-bone trade is a response to the decline in wild tiger populations in Asia. Tigers are also poached for “medicinal” products, although those big cats have become so rare in the wild — an estimated 3,900 animals spread across a dozen countries — that the industry has been forced to turn to other felines to feed its fortunes.
Captive Lion bone trade is on the rise, whily hunting for trophies declines
Luke Hunter of Panthera says, “the lion never had any traditional value in China. It’s an analog to the tiger, so it seems to be acceptable there”. As more lions enter the legal bone trade, the danger to wild lions increases. A July 2017 report from the Environmental Investigation Agency said that legal trade in lion bones further threatens wild tigers and lions by stimulating demand for products made from their bodies. In traditional Asian medicine, wild products are considered more potent and valuable than farm-raised equivalents.
Interestingly enough, the farms and lion bone trade appears to also be inspiring an increase in the poaching of captive lions. Last month a report found that at least 60 captive lions in South Africa were killed by poachers since 2016.
At least five captive tigers were also killed in South Africa
All of this is big business and while most of it is legal, some of it may not be. Another new report, issued by two South African organizations called the EMS Foundation and Ban Animal Trading, accused the legal lion-bone trade of shipping a much greater quantity of bones than officially reported. The two organizations used their report to call for eliminating all lion exports from South Africa. They aslo call for restricting the breeding of lions and other big cats, and investigating the finances of breeders.
The Drakenstein Lion Park is one of only two real sanctuaries in the Western Cape (and only a hand full in South Africa!). It was established by Paul Hart in 1998. The park provides lions in distress a safe location, where they could live in safety. Where they can roam free from abuse and persecution, and be treated with the compassion and respect they deserved.
When we posted on our Facebook group, that the Drakenstein Lion Park was looking for donations for a fence upgrade, Wellington Lions Club member Benny Smith and his company Kraaifontein Construction & Fencing immediately jumped into action. He could arrange the necessary razor wire at an incredibly discounted suppliers quote. This brought the cost for the fencing down from R 65.000 to R 32.000. Kraaifontein Construction & Fencing also installed the razor wire free of charge, donating the manpower costs to the park.
Saving one animal won’t change the world, but for that animal, the world changes completely!
For 20 years, many Lions found a new safe home at the Drakenstein Lion Park in the Western Cape. But sadly captive Lions lives aren’t secure any more in South Africa to make sure, something similar doesn’t happen to them! These Lions have been gone through so much to finally arrive here in safety! The Lions cannot be sent to Game Reserves. Because they are human imprinted they cannot be rehabilitated and released to the wild. Cubs are taken from their mothers so that she can produce another litter soon and that volunteer can bottle-feed them. Cubs are being pawed, picked up and being posed all day long, day after day. Lions are abused in circuses and roadside shows. Captive Lions cannot be part of breeding programmes that will save lions from extinction.
But, they can spend the rest of their lives peacefully and secure at the Drakenstein Lion Park!
APPEAL FOR LIONS – South Africa must end the breeding of big cats in captivity, Lion slaughterhouses and cruelty against our wildlife
MEDIA STATEMENT by NSPCA
ISSUED ON 26 SEPTEMBER 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NSPCA LAUNCHES URGENT LEGAL APPEAL FOR LIONS
The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has lodged an urgent interdict against the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to suspend DEA’s authorisation of lion bone exports.
The NSPCA has long been actively involved in addressing the cruelty in the captive lion industry; starting with lion cubs for petting to ‘canned lion’ hunting or slaughter for lion bone, with pending cruelty cases.
The NSPCA has been frustrated in its efforts to prevent this cruelty by the lack of regulation within the industry. Not only are there regulatory loopholes, but there is also generally a lack of cooperation and communication from both national and provincial authorities.
Following decisions were taken at CITES CoP17, the Minister of Environmental Affairs established an export quota of 800 skeletons for 2017. The NSPCA requested a judicial review of the quota; with the review process still grinding through the Courts; the DEA announced a 1500 quota for 2018.
The NSPCA has launched an urgent interdict based on welfare concerns
The NSPCA believes, for both the review and interdict purposes that:
• there is inadequate regulation of lions’ conditions of captivity and slaughter; • the study on which the decision was based is incomplete; • the DEA failed to comply with its statutory duty to consult; • based on expert opinion and data available, consider the decision to be scientifically irrational; • lion bone trade may threaten the viability of lion and other big cat populations globally encouraging consumers to utilise lion bone as a replacement for tiger bone in wine, tonics and traditional medicines and may increase demand; • captive lion ‘farming’ is an industry that has no conservation value. It poses a risk to both wild lion, tiger and other big cat populations globally; • The lion bone trade has links to transnational wildlife crime syndicates and other wildlife crime.
The NSPCA would like to extend its heartfelt appreciation to the dedicated legal team and the various experts who have supported our efforts and cause.
The NSPCA is of the view that cruelty to lions is an inevitable consequence of the DEA’s misguided actions and is therefore committed to fighting this decision in court to protect lions.
The Ongoing Disgrace of South Africa’s Captive Lions
An estimated 7,000 to 14,000 (numbers vary) captive lions are held at over 300 Lion breeding facilities in South Africa. Increasingly, the animals are slaughtered for their bones and other body parts, many of which are sold in Asia for their purported — and scientifically discredited — health benefits.
Original article byAdam Welz•September 18, 2018 • Yale Environment 360 • Shortened for better readability – Comments in (brackets)
Reinet Meyer is the senior inspector at the SPCA in the provincial city of Bloemfontein. She had received a tip. Two adult captive lions had been held 2 days without food or water in tiny transport crates on a farm called Wag ‘n Bietjie. She went to the farm, found the lions, and discovered that they’d been trucked about 250 miles. They came from Predators Pride, a “safari park” near Johannesburg. It keeps big cats in small enclosures so tourists can get close to them. For an extra fee, hold lion cubs or cuddle adult cheetahs while having their photos taken.
She then noticed a large pile of rotting, fly-covered meat outside a farm shed. Inside she found a supervisor. About eight workers stripped the skin and flesh from the fresh carcasses of 26 lions. “You could see that it wasn’t the first time they’d done this,” she says. That afternoon a truck arrived with 28 additional lions, which were to be killed the next day. Meyer insisted that the lions be released into a corral rather than be left in their transport crates overnight.
She returned to Wag ‘n Bietjie the next morning to observe that animal welfare standards were being maintained. A veterinarian arrived at 9 a.m., drove into the newly arrived lions’ corral in a pickup truck, and darted all 28 with tranquillizers. As they lapsed into unconsciousness, he walked from one to the next. He methodically shot each in the ear with a .22-caliber rifle. “Overseas buyers don’t want a skull with a bullet in it,” he told Reinet. Which is why he didn’t shoot them directly in the cranium.
These lion carcasses, as well as the ones Reinet had seen the previous day, were being processed into skeletons to be sold to wildlife product dealers in Asia. They would likely resell them as “tiger bone” to be made into a wide variety of products. Products like jewellery, “tiger-bone wine or -cake” and a dizzying array of “health tonics.” There is no mainstream scientific proof that tiger bone is of genuine medical use. On further investigation, Meyer counted 246 lions confined elsewhere on the farm, more than 100 of which were scheduled to be shot and reduced to bones.
As grotesque as the scene at Wag ‘n Bietjie was, the farmer gave Meyer unfettered access to his property. Although he expressed some unease at killing the animals, he told Meyer that he was making good money. It was all legal; he had government permits to keep and kill lions.
The low-tech lion slaughterhouse that Meyer had stumbled upon was part of South Africa’s large and increasingly controversial captive-bred lion industry. Not even Edna Molewa’s DEA knows how many lions this industry currently holds because it is poorly monitored. But, it’s one of the most lucrative of South Africa’s wildlife breeding sectors. It has generated generates tens of millions of dollars annually from a worldwide client base.
Captive Lions History – Part I
The industry originated in the late 1990s* to provide relatively cheap lions for foreign trophy hunters to shoot in fenced areas. (*More than 20 years ago, in 1997, the findings of The Cook Report investigation were presented to the public by famous Roger Cook). Captive Lions (Males) were sold at between $25,000 and $40,000. Femelaes sold at half of it. But following U.S. restrictions on trophy imports from such “canned” hunts, the captive-bred lion industry is increasingly focused on supplying bones to Asia.
Supporters of the industry, including especially the late Edna Molewa, the South African Environment Minister, promote captive lion breeding. They define the slaughter as an example of “sustainable utilization of natural resources”. But increasingly vocal opponents, including prominent hunters, say that it is cruel, damaging to South Africa’s reputation. There is no benefit to wildlife conservation. Luke Hunter of the leading big cat conservation group Panthera says, that captive-bred lions have “unequivocally zero” conservation value.
The debate about the industry is heating up — hunting groups have split over it. Lobbyists on both sides are ramping up their rhetoric. Now politicians are considering legislating against it. Because lions are a high-profile species and the captive-bred lion industry sells its products across the globe, South Africa’s decisions will have ripple effects through the international hunting and wildlife trades.
Wild female lions only give birth every 18 months to two years, but in captivity, cubs can be are removed within days of being born. This allows the females to produce up to four litters every two years. Lion breeders have learned to profit from every stage of a lion’s life.
First – they extract by extracting cash and free labour from “voluntourists”. These are often young foreigners in their school gap year and who pay well for the chance to hand-raise cubs while being told that “their” lions will later be released into the wild.
Then – breeders charge tourists to hold cubs for photos, and when these cubs become adolescents, charge tourists again to go on “walking with lions” excursions.
Then – adolescent lions become too large to be controlled — hand-raised lions have no fear of humans and can be extremely dangerous — they are sold to trophy hunting outfitters,
Later – they are released into fenced areas and lion farms guarantee their clients easy, time-efficient kills, often without disclosing that the lions being shot are effectively tame.
With its increasing size and high profile, the industry inevitably attracted scrutiny. In late 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service banned the import of captive-bred lion trophies, saying the industry had not proved that it benefited the long-term survival of lions in the wild. (Trophies from wild lion hunts could still be imported, however, because the agency found that trophy fees often went toward habitat conservation and anti-poaching patrols).
Almost overnight, the industry lost more than half its hunting clients. Prices of Captive Lions plummeted. But the game wasn’t over for lion breeders. They had an alternative market for their products — the bone trade — which they had quietly been developing since 2008.
Captive Lions History – Part II
A trophy hunter normally takes just the skull and skin of the lion to a taxidermist to be mounted. The flesh and remainder of the skeleton remain with the outfitter or landowner. Prior to 2008, this was normally disposed of. In 2008, however, the first exports of lion bones — 35 skeletons — from South Africa to Southeast Asia took place. Arranged by powerful Asian syndicates that finance and commit wildlife crime in dozens of countries.
By 2015, exports had risen to around 1,300 skeletons per year. Between 2008 and 2016, South Africa The circuit of abuse and exploitation with a total weight of more than 70 tons, almost all to Southeast Asian countries known as hubs of the illegal wildlife trade. That robust business continues today.
Wildlife crime researchers say that Asian wildlife syndicates view lion bone as a convenient substitute for tiger bone. There are well-established markets — albeit often black markets — across Asia. Tigers have long been listed on Appendix 1 of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) treaty. This mean means that virtually all international trade in their parts is banned.
How Lion Bones become Tiger Bones
African lions have long been viewed as less threatened than tigers, and have been listed on Appendix 2. As a matter of facts, this allows international trade subject to permits. Lion bones leave South Africa legally, with CITES permits. Once it arrives in Southeast Asia it is typically relabeled as tiger bone and smuggled to black markets. Thus, the legal product feeds illegal business. (Anti-hunting activist groups have recently identified numerous criminal participants in the South Africa-to-Southeast Asia lion bone trade.)
In Vietnam, lion bones are likely made into “tiger-bone cake,” an expensive “traditional remedy,” with no proven medicinal properties. It is made by boiling bones along with turtle shell and other ingredients until they disintegrate. Then it is compacted into a chocolate bar-like “cake”. In China, the skeletons of big cats are often suspended in large vats of alcohol, which are tapped to produce “tiger-bone wine.”
In January 2018 Lions4Lions was explicitly started to raise awareness about the Lion species fate. Today, at the end of September 2018, our Facebook group has 4700 members. Every single day, we meet people, that didn’t know what is happening to the most iconic species on Earth. We hear from shocked people. They shiver when they hear what is going on in South Africa’s captive breeding scene. Read more
Twenty Four Lions were reintroduced to a 2.5 million-acre habitat in the Zambeze Delta of Mozambique on August 5, in the largest move of lions across an international boundary in history. Today, fewer than 20,000 Lions run wild. Twenty Four Lions will be the seed population that will reverse this trend in the Zambeze Delta, an ecosystem of over 2 million acres. The environment, once decimated by civil war and poaching, has benefited as a result of a 24-year effort led by Zambeze Delta Safaris and dedicated to sound conservation practices. However, in spite of these efforts, the lion population has struggled to recover. Lions have become extinct in 26 African countries. Twenty Four Lions is determined to make sure that Mozambique doesn’t join that list.
The Cabela Family Foundation, in partnership with the Ivan Carter Wildlife Conservation Alliance, Zambeze Delta Safaris and Marromeu Safaris is proud to support this initiative. Without the revenue from hunting and the decades of conservation work from Zambeze Delta Safaris and Marromeu Safaris, none of this would have been possible.
The most important aspect of any conservation initiative is the scientific foundation upon which it is built. Learn more about the research behind Twenty Four Lions and what we hope to learn from this project.
Update about the 24 Lions at the 8. September 2018
Sadly lion 2783 has been lost due to a very cruel act by a poacher. The harsh reality of gin traps – the poacher knew he had a lion in his trap! He had contacted interested buyers to sell off the lion parts. He had informed them he would only kill the lion once he had been paid and the lion had weakened! As a result, the Lion had to be euthanized. Lions 2783 along with his brother started walking their new territory. They headed inland from the delta. Tragically he was caught on the front paw by a poacher’s Gin trap. The anti-poaching unit picked this up on their morning flight to monitor all the lions. They mobilized their team and darted him.
A vet was on hand but unfortunately, the damage was too bad, every bone in his foot had been crushed. Finally the young male was euthanized.
The poacher who set the trap has been arrested and is now with the Marromeu police. His brother (lion 2784) is still walking but seems to be heading back to the security of the floodplain as a result of his loss. The balance of the lions are on the floodplain and are really doing well. They are monitored on a daily basis. Anti-poaching is on high alert and continue to do everything in their power to keep the area clean.
LYKA, the blind lioness has been written off as a ‘breeding mistake’ by the zoo, after going blind as a result of a congenital eye problem and now lives in a very small and barren enclosure in the zoo that is based in Iloilo, Southern Philippines. PhilZoos is an individual zoo facility, a government-run zoo in the Philippines. We have had reports that the rest of the zoo is in sub-standard condition as well.
PhilZoos is the Philippine Zoos & Aquariums Association – The National Zoo Association of the Philippines. Maasin zoo does not abide PhilZoo’s ethical and welfare philosophy. However, our colleagues in the Philippines and at PhilZoos, are concerned for all animals in captivity and have told us that: “While Maasin Zoo is not a member of Philippine Zoos & Aquarium Association, Philzoos, however, is looking into the matter already and is coordinating with Maasin Zoo and the concerned government agency on addressing the issues raised.”
Visitors were also quoted as saying that other animals near LYKA were also in very poor health and living in extremely unhealthy conditions. Maasin Zoo is government-funded but staff has said that they don’t have enough money to improve the enclosures or properly care for the animals.
It’s unacceptable that Lyka and other animals at the Maasin Zoo continue to suffer from neglect in captivity while zoo officials and government do nothing.
Please sign the petitionHERE to call on the Governor of Iloilo to immediately close the Maasin Zoo and free Lyka to a sanctuary. Please, we must save this beautiful Lioness. To see such a beautiful creature suffering like no one cares is extremely painful to see. Thank you sincerely !
Outrage, secrecy, abomination, controversy, suspicion, and cat and mouse game, are some of the verbalisations around the events linked to the lion hunt in the Umbabat Private Nature Reserve bordering Kruger National Park (KNP), of what is believed to be Skye, leader of the Western pride.
Many of you will feel jaded by the continued stories around this one lion. However, the narrative is not necessarily just about one lion. This story is about the many unanswered questions and the lack of transparency and accountability around the events that took place pre-hunt, during the hunt, and post-hunt.
It is about the free migration of KNP wildlife into the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR). Free migration of national assets that form part of our natural heritage. Wildlife that receives protection under the Protected Areas Act (2003) (PAA) from trophy hunting in the KNP, but not in the ANPR.
The PAA states that “all animals occurring in a national park are….deemed to be public assets held in trust by the State for the benefit of the present and future generations….”. The act further describes that these animals are not only public assets within our national parks but remain public assets even when they leave the parks.
In February 2018, SANParks KNP informed Umbabat they will not support the requested off-take for among others one lion, based on census wildlife numbers, sustainability and governance issues.
Later that month, Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) approved the Umbabat proposed hunting quota for 2018, including one male lion older than 5 yrs.
Subsequently, MTPA issues a hunting permit for one lion, marked as a hunt where baiting is allowed. Several official requests to view this permit have been made post-hunt to no avail.
Michel Pickover (Director EMS Foundation) says they contacted Glenn Phillips (Managing Executive SANParks KNP) post-hunt “to confirm, as a matter of urgency, that the KNP did not change its mind and grant permission to Umbabat to kill a lion”. In response, Ike Phaahla (SANParks Media Specialist) states that they “make recommendations, but that does not prescribe to the issuing authority and they have the final say”.
Pre-hunt, other shareholders in the Umbabat PNR wanted reassurance from Bryan Havemann (Umbabat warden) that the dominant male lion of the Western Pride (called Skye) would not be the target of this hunt. Skye was identified as a “high-value pride male” for reasons of genealogy, pride stability and from an eco-tourism perspective.
The Ingwelala share block (non-hunting properties) raised concerns over the safety of Skye’s offspring (infanticide) and the negative impact it would have on the wildlife recreational experience of the whole of Ingwelala, if Skye was shot.
At the time, Havemann assured the target of the hunt was not Skye, but an elderly male lion that often encroached into the north-eastern section of the Umbabat from KNP and steps were being taken to increase the probability of this elderly lion being shot by baiting.
Skye was easily identifiable by two distinctive S-shaped scars on his right rump and scarring under his right eye.
On 7th June 2018, an American hunter is believed to have paid R1 million to shoot a Kruger male lion in Umbabat with still unconfirmed reports suggesting it was Skye. The last sighting of Skye was on this very day.
Havemann has been evasive ever since the hunt. He admits it was a lion hunt using the carcasses of a buffalo and elephant as bait, both killed on the same hunt. In some instances, he seems to be aware of Skye’s identity and other times he is not, whereas clear identifying images were presented to him pre-hunt.
An Ingwelala member met with Havemann days after the hunt, during which the latter confirmed to have inspected the hunted lion. Upon further questioning, Havemann claims to have only seen the left rump and not the distinctive scar on his right.
Nevertheless, Havemann insists it was not Skye, but the target elderly male. Yet, among the photos of all the known male lions in the area, provided by Motswari Lodge pre-hunt, there is no lion of such description nor have there been any recorded sightings in the area.
We need to ask the simple question, if indeed an elderly lion was hunted, why not be transparent and allow the skin to be inspected? This would surely put an end to all speculation? I contacted Havemann on several occasions and he declined the opportunity to comment.
There also seem to be violations of the Greater KNP Hunting Protocol as well as national legislation. The Hunting Protocol states that “hunting should be conducted according to set rules to ensure that the spirit of fair chase is honored”. Using bait neither consists of an ethical hunt nor fair chase.
On the 20th June 2018, Riaan de Lange (Head of Professional Hunting, MTPA) tells Adam Cruise in an interview: “It’s a pity we didn’t have more pictures. If the hunter had other pictures, then there would be no excuse, but he only had this one, so one can’t blame him if he did shoot Skye.” Yet another inconsistency, as we know that many identification photos were made available pre-hunt.
However, if indeed the hunt took place based on one photo, this further contravenes the Hunting Protocol, which states that “reasonable steps should be taken to gain knowledge of the males with pride affiliations and their ages, thereby ensuring that pride males under the age of 8 years are not selected”.
Furthermore, Skye was believed to be younger than 8 years and, if he was shot, this would constitute another violation of the Hunting Protocol.
Cullinan & Associates (Environmental Attorneys) believe there are potential violations of the Threatened Or Protected Species (TOPS) Regulations 2007, which provides that the issuing authority (MTPA in this case) may not authorize the hunting of a listed TOPS using bait.
Baiting is however allowed under the Mpumalanga Nature Conservation Act (1998) – one of the two provinces in South Africa that are not TOPS compliant. This obviously creates a conflict between national and provincial legislation.
Cullinan & Associates argues that conflict of this nature is dealt with in our Constitution and TOPS Regulations should prevail when it comes to the killing of a listed TOPS species. They say “the survival of the whole species in South Africa requires a uniform approach and cannot be dealt with effectively by each province making their own laws”.
Cullinan & Associates asked the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in a recent letter to take urgent action by looking into this potentially illegal lion hunt.
They conclude their letter to the DEA as follows, “there is a good reason to believe that the lion that was hunted was not the animal which was specified in the permit. Our client and other concerned individuals have been denied the opportunity to inspect the skin despite repeated requests, from which only an adverse inference may be drawn. There is thus a reason to believe that other offenses may have been committed.”
DEA promised to undertake a full investigation, including whether or not the lion hunt was lawful and the correct lion was hunted, and, if necessary, take appropriate action.
In light of this investigation, I asked de Lange (MTPA) whether or not he has granted the hunter an export permit for the trophy. He replied a “PAIA request may be the way to go”.
Earlier last week, Albi Modise (DEA Chief Director of Communications) told me that a draft investigation report is currently under review, but that this will not be made public. “At this stage, there is no evidence that any offenses were committed in the execution of this hunt”, Modise continued.
Nearly 30 NGOs with the support of 139,000 global citizens asked SANParks some very pertinent questions in an attempt to create more transparency around the hunt.
SANParks’ response has been evasive, hiding firmly behind their mandate of the KNP only. Phaahla concluded his response that “in the spirit of transparency and open communication, you [29 organizations] are urged to follow the formal engagement routes by consulting with the issuing authorities MTPA, LEDET, with DEA, and with the Private reserve representatives”, clearly another attempt to divert the responsibility to other authorities.
A representative of those 29 animal welfare organizations, Stefania Falcon (Future4Wildlife), told me that they followed up with all the authorities involved on many occasions, but were met by a wall of silence. “The stakeholders are clearly ignoring public inputs and consultations, as well as petitions signed by many global citizens”, she said.
Nonetheless, SANParks KNP doesn’t seem happy with the whole deplorable situation. Glenn Phillips stated in a recent email that “if Umbabat does not sort out their governance issues, they will re-erect the fence” with KNP. An external source says that “Umbabat has been given six months to get their house in order and to ensure that a new Hunting Protocol is signed with KNP”.
Now more than ten weeks since the hunt, all the evidence is stacking against the survival of Skye. Sightings in Umbabat suggest that the Western Pride is breaking up in the absence of its leader.
Among the many unanswered questions, remains one central issue of national importance. If all animals occurring in a national park are deemed under the PAA to be public assets, even when they occur outside of a national park, would the public not have the right for more consultation and transparency?
The highly controversial shooting of Skye the Lion by a trophy hunter in the Umbabat section of the Greater Kruger could conceivably mark the beginning of the end for trophy hunting in this part of Africa. I am speculating here, but please hear me out…
Since we reported the known facts about the hunt, I and many others have been digging for clarity. Was the hunted lion indeed ‘Skye’? – a dominant male of the Western Pride, featured in this tribute ‘The Story of Skye’ by Charlie Lynam, a shareholder in Ingwelala, one of the properties making up Umbabat. The photos accompanying this opinion editorial are of Skye and his pride.
The trophy hunting team insist that the lion killed was not Skye the pride male, claiming that he was in fact an old male lion with worn teeth and a protruding spine. But they refuse point blank to supply a photo of the dead lion to prove their claim, citing legal and personal safety concerns. Lynam and others insist that Skye the pride male was killed. According to Lynam, Skye has not been seen since the day of the killing of that lion. Additionally, one of his cubs has since been killed and some of the pride lionesses have been beaten up as a new coalition of males has moved into the area. This is classic lion behavior when a dominant male is removed and new male/s move into the vacuum – cubs are killed (infanticide) and lionesses are beaten up as they try to defend their cubs.
Recently activist Don Pinnock, who broke the story, has revealed that the hunter in question is an American by the name of Jared Whitworth, from Hardinsburg, Kentucky. He also revealed the names of the South African hunting outfitter who sold and managed the hunt and the government official who signed off on the lion permit. Whitworth is a member of Safari Club International (SCI), which defines hunting success in terms of size and rarity. Apparently the larger the horns/tusks and rarer the animal, the more respect you are due for killing it. Whitworth’s 15-year-old daughter was awarded the title “2018 SCI Young Hunter of the Year”, and the SCI website features her proudly posing with a massive buffalo she killed. I found this out by visiting the SCI website a few days ago – and note with interest that today those pages have been removed (fortunately I saved a screenshot). Are the SCI members now afraid of the tree-huggers? Perhaps they should be …
And here, ladies and gentlemen, is where I start reasoning why I believe that trophy hunting will soon end in the Greater Kruger.
As I write this, an investigative agency has been hired to look into the legality of the Skye hunt, there is a popular online petition calling for justice, and various people are digging away to find out the personal information of everyone involved. Momentum is building, and I hear that the guilty parties are shaking in their boots. Anyone remember what happened to Walter Palmer, the American dentist who shot Cecil the Lion, once his name was known to the public?
Let me be blunt: Do trophy hunters really think that they can keep these things secret in this day and age, and do they and their families feel safe knowing that their deeds will be in the public domain sooner or later? I understand from sources that the southern African trophy hunting industry is already suffering from cancellations because of increased public scrutiny and vigilantism.
Beyond the hunter and the hunting outfitter, what about the other people involved – the government officials and game reserve management? How long before these people decide that they are not prepared to take the risk and stress of being associated with this industry that specializes in surgically removing the last-remaining big-gene animals? Many of these people are simply ordinary employees, who signed up to be involved in conservation and now find themselves defending an industry they don’t even believe in, and being subjected to personal abuse and threats of physical violence.
We are increasingly seeing government departments and officials being targeted by a tidal wave of emotional backlash against trophy hunting. The fact that much of the commentary is factually inaccurate is beside the point – this is a battle of emotion, not fact. The anger generated amongst the social media-empowered general public, driven by activists who value impact over fact, is a toxic cocktail that will drive change – regardless of the consequences. Recently the Namibian government issued a ruling that trophy hunters to that country cannot publish kill photos on social media. This bizarre and unenforceable move is surely a testament to the extent of the pressure that is being brought to bear on the trophy hunting industry.
Anti-hunting activists are evolving, and increasingly now combining their immense social media support base with targeted action against specific perpetrators. On the other hand, the trophy hunting industry does not have the DNA to evolve. They are still barking out the same defensive rhetoric from decades ago – despite the conservation landscape having shifted massively under the immense pressure of habitat loss and poaching. This industry will never be driven by ethics and transparency; it is entirely opportunistic and known to retrofit the conservation argument based on the specifics of the particular animal hunted.
In the court of public opinion, we are all judged by the company we keep, and the partners we choose. In my opinion, if management of the Greater Kruger does not change tack and distance itself from their trophy hunting partners, this tremendous conservation initiative will self-destruct. Members of the Greater Kruger simply cannot any longer risk being associated with an industry that refuses to evolve, and regularly shoots itself in the foot. Quite simply, they have to dissociate themselves or face eventual ruin.
And that is why I believe that it is only a matter of time before trophy hunting ceases to be a management tool in the Greater Kruger.
Of course, the landowners and managers of these wildlife reserves will consequently need to source alternative funding for their rapidly escalating anti-poaching and general conservation costs. Photographic tourism can provide some of the extra funding, but not all of it. Even if all parties agree to higher lodge and vehicle densities (with concomitant increased environmental pressure) and higher lodge prices, not all areas in the Greater Kruger have the same tourism potential – this is a simple fact based on location, carrying capacity and biodiversity. Many of the most vocal social media activists have never been on safari in Africa, and are unlikely ever to. But hopefully, they will donate to a fund to enable anti-poaching work in the Greater Kruger to continue.
I suspect that some landowners, especially the local communities, will seriously consider alternative land uses such as livestock and crops, once trophy hunting is off the table. There are few straight roads in Africa.
Some pro-hunting folk will refuse to acknowledge advice like mine if it does not come accompanied by instant iron-clad alternatives to hunting. With respect, this is like refusing to accept that your daughter is pregnant, just because she won’t tell you who the father is. The first step to solving a problem is to acknowledge that you have a problem.
I have great faith that in time trophy hunting in the Greater Kruger will be replaced by a more ethical, more relevant sustainable land-use strategy. This will take time, but it will happen. A luta continua!
CALL TO ACTION: Please have your say on the lion bone quota and the killing of Skye the lion in South Africa and submit your comment to the Chairperson of the Colloquium in Parliament, Cape Town. The debate will focus precisely on these two controversial topics and we ask you to support our participation!
The Colloquium will start on Tuesday, August the 21st 2018 at 8.00 so, please, send your message before Monday.
Predator farming using lions and other species could cost South Africa over R54-billion over the next 10 years in loss of tourism brand attractiveness. This is according to a scientific report about to be released by the South African Institute of International Affairs. According to a scientific report about to be released by the South African Institute of International Affairs, the Economics of Captive Predator Breeding in South Africa, the burgeoning lion bone trade, canned lion hunting, cub petting and “voluntourism” are doing escalating damage to the image of South Africa as a tourism destination. There is already substantial body of evidence stacked against these notorious industries says the author, Ross Harvey, and it’s going to get worse.
The report comprises two sections. The first is a formal academic review of the scientific and “grey” literature, some of which is being used by those involved in attempts to justify their commercial predator activities. The second deals with the conservation and economic claims being made, including the most recent lion bone quota of 1,500 carcasses awarded by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA). According to Harvey, “perhaps the most surprising finding was the sheer extent to which the skeleton quota numbers for the last two years (from 800 to 1,500) appear to have no grounding in science. Also startling is how little reliable economic analysis has been conducted on this industry”.
The cruelty and brutality of industrial-scale farming of lions in South Africa has been documented by Blood Lions and others, as has the killing of predators by hunters. In the past, these have been the ugly face of this industry. But Harvey’s report adds the burgeoning lion bone trade as well as the cub petting and “voluntourism” sectors which have over the last decade become just as insidious.
Some of the principle findings in the report are that: Based on the current literature and data available, the conservation and economic claims of the entire industry “do not correspond to reality”. Excluding the canned hunting sector, the predator breeding industry and its other related activities may generate over R1-billion of revenue a year– less than 1% of the total tourism economy. The opportunity costs and negative externalities associated with these industries may “undermine South Africa’s brand attractiveness as a tourism destination by up to R54.51-billion over the next decade”.
The conservation claims have no validity. Current data is based on small sample sizes dependent on interview responses. If the industry is going to make any claims of economic benefit, further analysis and data collection is needed. The lion bone quota should be removed as there is insufficient scientific basis for awarding it. In addition, legal quotas create supply-side signals of legitimacy that promote parallel illegal markets as well as poaching for illegal stock to be laundered through “legal” markets. Volunteers on predator facilities are taking work away from local full-time job-seekers.
While the market for canned hunts has fallen, this has not resulted in any noticeable increase in demand for wild lion trophies. The price of lion bones is on the increase; heading over R50,000 for a carcass, and that this trade may well be replacing canned/captive hunting as the breeders primary revenue source. The connection between predator farming and organized crime has been well documented.
Of particular interest to the government, particularly the Department of Labour and the revenue authorities, will be Harvey’s findings on the much-touted job creation claims made by predator facilities and so-called sanctuaries. Rather than creating jobs, they make use of a seemingly endless stream of volunteers which is “crowding out” full-time jobs that would otherwise be available to local work-seekers. The volunteer exchange is the most incongruous of contracts as those offering their labor for free are also asked to pay substantial sums before setting foot in a facility. In essence, the volunteers pay twice; their cash in dollars or euros that provide substantial revenue streams for the operators, and then they work for free, without pay. It may seem inconceivable that anyone would offer both their cash and labor to scrub lion cages, mend fences and feed animals among many other chores. But as Harvey points out, this happens because of the misleading or false conservation claims used to lure them.
Unsuspecting volunteers from around the world are prepared to make these sacrifices thinking they are making a contribution to securing the future of wild lions. A further lure is the chance to cuddle and bottle-feed newly-born cubs ripped from their mothers.
The report highlights the economic contributions of these predator farming facilities as being relatively small. However, it is the first to quantify the significant potential losses to Brand South Africa. Concerns about the future of lion hunting and breeding are being noted at the highest level and next week Parliament will hold a two-day colloquium to hear a range of viewpoints. DM
That is the question you need to ask yourself today: Is today a Wold Lion Day? Are you going to continue 😤😖😡 posting angry face images 😣👺😈 on social media every time you read about the plight of our lions? Or are you going to become actively involved somehow to stop this exploitation? Will you give up YOUR TIME and CREATIVITY to prevent even one more destruction of a lions life? Take today to think of those thousands of lions who gave up their lives unnecessary for the sake of greed, status and an inferiority complex. Share and raise awareness to support our cause to fight lion exploitation. Every Day is WORLD LION DAY!
“I pledge to keep all carnivores Wild ‘n Free by not petting, walking, feeding or taking selfies with them. I vow to become an ambassador for wild carnivores and to honour their right to live a natural life. I encourage others to do the same.”
Serabie was a 5-month-old lion cub belonging to a facility breeding for canned hunting. Canned hunting is essentially a trophy hunt, where the animal is kept in a confined space, like a fenced area, with a 100% chance of killing. These animals are so habituated to humans that many of them do not even flee their killers.
This story tells about how Alexandra Lamontagne saved the tiny little lion cub
The place is called Bambelela Wildlife Care. For six weeks Alexandra was responsible for five cubs. It was a very rewarding experience. Four of these cubs were transferred to a zoo in Denmark. The youngest cub, a female, returned to a hunter reserve in Africa. It is therefore likely to be hunted. The Lions were in Bambelela because the person doing the mating could not take care of it. So she asked us to take care of it, otherwise, they would die.
The baby cub was named Serabie. Alexandra set up a crowdfunding campaign because she found a park ready to welcome it, the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuaray. Serabie now lives there with 2 other lions of her age. This park hosts animals rescued from zoos, circuses or hunters’ reserves.
Saving Serabie – Baby Lion Was Bred To Be Hunted — But One Woman Protected Her
To this end, Alexandra made a mini clip on Serabie to demonstrate that it must be saved from these lion hunters. This documentary will be directed to educate future generations about hunting the animal for its skin and bones.
Alexandra thought she was doing it for the good of the animals
When Alexandra Lamontagne decided to travel all the way from Canada to volunteer in South Africa, she thought she was doing it for the good of the animals. While she was originally planning to help out with the organization’s monkeys, she was informed she would instead be caring for five baby lions who were supposedly going to a zoo in Denmark in a few months. Lamontagne didn’t know what was really going on at the facility where the baby lions were kept. As her stay at the facility progressed, she found herself bonding with the five cubs in her care, especially the youngest. She would often bottle-feed Serabie, who would slowly fall asleep on her lap. Only after Lamontagne’s return to Canada did she hear rumours that the lion cubs she’d helped raise, including the littlest Serabie, would be sent to a “canned hunting” facility. She decided to save Serabie.
Volunteers pay to care for cubs like Serabie
Baby Lions, like Serabie, are often raised by vacationing volunteers, like Lamontagne, who believe they are helping animals and who rarely even know the bloody end that awaits these cubs. “I tried to find out, but I was never able to know the truth”. She was appalled when she learned Serabie was born just to be shot. She knew she had to do something.
When she returned to the facility, Lamontagne found Serabie in an enclosure with 14 other cubs. As Lamontagne looked around, she noticed there were new, younger cubs at the facility as well, in another enclosure. In yet another were larger lions. Lamontagne knew would probably be sent to an undisclosed canned hunting facility to be killed. So many lion cubs were being raised just so hunters could buy the right to shoot them.
A new life for Serabie at Emoya
Lamontagne did what she could: She prepared Serabie for a trip to Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, where the young cat would get the privilege of which so many others were robbed: Serabie would be able to live out her life. Even after the rescue, Lamontagne couldn’t eat, sleep or stop crying. The thought of the other lions being killed was too horrific. But word was starting to get out. Lamontagne was interviewed for the new MSNBC documentary “Blood Lions,” an exposé on the canned hunting industry. Serabie’s story was also turned into a video to raise awareness about canned hunting.
The lion breeding farm, the lion slaughterhouse discovered in Free State last week, belongs to a former SA Predator Association council member Andre Steyn. The gruesome discovery of at least 54 dead lions and a further 260 plus lions in captive conditions at Steyn’s farm, Wag n Bietjie, last week, sparked public rage over lions and tigers that are bred for the bullet and skinned for their bones for export to South East Asia’s widely unregulated medicine markets and wildlife body-parts trade.
A statement released by Blood Lions claims that there has been a mass lion shooting in the Free State Province, South Africa. The Blood Lions team and other environmentalists reacted with horror to reports that a lion slaughterhouse was established ‘overnight’ on a farm outside Bloemfontein. The team said in a statement that 19 lions were shot on this farm last week and 80 were allegedly on their way to the Free State or were already being held on the farm to be shot and their bones to be sent to the East. However, another source said 26 lions were shot on the farm on Tuesday and 28 more were shot on Wednesday. Allegedly the lions were anaesthetised before they got shot.
Their skeletons are then boiled until the meat falls off. After that, the bones are brought to a collecting point at a free-trade branch in the Free State where everything gets prepared for export. Traders in China and Vietnam pay for what is claimed to be as much as R100,000 for a lion skeleton exported from South Africa. Blood Lions referred to the decision of Environmental Minister Edna Molewa, who announced last year that 800 lion skeletons may be exported to the East every year.
Ian Michler, campaigner for lions and member of the Blood Lions team says that this trend should be very worrying for South Africans because the farmers of the country’s 8,000 captive lions will start shooting them all over the country. André Steyn’s farm, Wag-’n Bietjie, outside Bloemfontein is just the first of many to follow, says Michler. “The cruel reality is that South Africa’s iconic lions are traded on an industrial scale, to provide for China’s insatiable demand for their bones.” Lions in crates were brought to the farm from Gauteng, North West and other parts of the Free State. A source who works at a game farm in North West approached Blood Lions and asked for help after two lions were shot on the farm this week, were loaded on a truck and brought to the Free State. No permits were issued for the transport of the lions from North West to the Free State.
According to legislation, a veterinarian should have shot the lions but the driver of the truck shot them himself, he said. According to him (the source), he watched powerlessly how the lions were taken away. Steyn did not respond to inquiries. Complaints about alleged animal abuse on Wag-’n Bietjie have been received. A veterinarian, Dr. Hennie Klopper of Bloemfontein, confirmed he was involved in the anaesthesia of the lions at Wag-’n Bietjie. He said he had received permits to anaesthetise the lions. Reinet Meyer, a senior inspector of the Bloemfontein Animal Protection Association (DBV), confirmed to have been called to the farm on Tuesday.“It was about two lions held in a very small crate for two or three days before being destroyed,” Meyer says the SPCA is investigating the incident. Adv. Antoinette Ferreira of the National Prosecuting Authority in Bloemfontein says she has no file/info at this stage and does not know whether criminal charges can be filed. She said the big question is if there were legal permits issued for this shooting. She said the National Department of Environmental Affairs issued permits according to a quota system.
The other question is if cruelty was committed to the animals when they were shot or before they were shot. The National Department of Environmental Affairs sent Beeld to the Free State Department of Economic Affairs, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs. This department did not respond to inquiries at any time. According to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), export permits must also be obtained because lions are an endangered species.
Create Awareness! Today is solely dedicated to captive bred lion cubs of all ages. How we can improve their survival and improve their animal rights. South African lion sanctuary boss says every other breeding facility in nation linked to “canned hunting”. Paul Hart (Drakenstein Lion Sanctuary) said those who claim they are seeking to conserve the species are directly or indirectly providing animals to be slaughtered by wildlife trophy hunters. The Drakenstein Lion Park, which bills itself as the “only genuine lion sanctuary in the Western Cape”, rescues captive animals destined for canned hunts. Hart said: “There are thousands of volunteers getting conned”.