There are less lions in the world than white rhino. Lions are the only big cat not protected as an endangered species. There are more jaguars in the world than lions, and yet lions are not recognised as an endangered species. As many lions are being killed by hunters each year as rhino are being poached.
Lions in the Line of Fire
There are twice as many lions in captivity in South Africa as in the wild. More than 8,000 lions are in captivity in South Africa being bred for the bullet or the bow. The explosive growth of the Asian lion bone trade, fuelled by canned hunting, is severely impacting on wild lions through a massive increase in poaching.
Global March for Lions
On 15 March protestors in 60 cities worldwide from as far afield as Kenya, New Zealand, Uganda, Senegal, Hong Kong, India, Canada, Australia, Malawi, Brazil, Costa Rica, USA, Portugal, Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Romania, Italy, England, Ireland, Scotland and South Africa united to roar for their rights. The message of the Global March for Lions was: Ban Cannel Lion Hunting!
Canned Hunting is a Disgrace
In Cape Town over 1,700 marched to parliament to deliver a Memorandum of Protest calling for an immediate ban on all canned lion hunting in South Africa and a recognition that lions are an endangered species.
A Time for Action
Chris Mercer, the Director of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting addressed the marchers in Cape Town, saying: "I am here because I am angry. Angry at being told that cruelty is only sustainable use when I can see that it is sustained abuse. Must we all swallow the lie that the only way to save African wildlife is by killing animals?
An Industry of Deception and Abuse
"I am angry about the pampered trophy hunters who come to South Africa for no other reason than to torture and kill hand-reared lions. I am angry about lion farmers who breed lions for no other reason than to provide tame targets to be executed by sadistic killers. I am angry about tourists who are being duped into feeding the canned hunting industry through cub petting. I am angry that volunteers are being misled to work at lions farms that pose as wildlife sanctuaries. I am also tired of being told that hunters only want to kill lions to help the impoverished masses in Africa. Let them donate money if that is a real concern!
The Looting of our Wildlife Heritage
"Here is CITES standing by, watching while Africa's wildlife heritage collapses in front of our eyes. CITES is supposed to control the international trade in wild animals. Instead it facilitates wildlife trafficking by ignoring the many loop holes.
Protect Endangered Lions
"We need to lobby the European Commission to ban the import of trophies. Write to the US Fish and Wildlife calling on it to raise the status of lions to endangered. That would stop the import of lion trophy's there.
You Can Make a Difference
"Our wildlife is being victimised and our heritage destroyed. We have the power to save African wildlife, although it will not be easy. But as long as each and every one of us take on this fight, there is hope."
The Asian Crime Syndicate Connection
Approximately 1,000 lions are canned hunted every year in South Africa. That is about the same number as rhinos that were poached last year. Lion bones are being sold to known Asian crime syndicates who pay Lion farmers, $1,000 for a carcass, which is then sold as tiger bone cake in Asia, for $70,000. There are ridiculous superstitions in Asia that lion and tiger bone cures different diseases and act as aphrodisiacs.
Drugged and Baited
There are documented cases of tame lions being drugged and baited to provide "guaranteed kills" for trophy hunters. Most of the canned lion hunting in South Africa is now being done with compound bows and arrows. Visit www.cannedlion.org for documentation and visual evidence of the shocking abuse and exploitation of South Africa's wildlife.
"They are quick to hurt and kill; they leave ruin and destruction wherever they go." Romans 3:15
What Exactly is Canned Hunting?
Chris Mercer explains: "Canned hunting is the hunting of an animal where the target is unfairly prevented from escaping the hunter, because of either physical constraints (fenced in) or mental constraints (habituation to humans)."
A National Scandal
But surely no one would be shooting some confined or tame lion? What possible honour or challenge could any hunter find in that? Surely that cannot be legal? What is our government doing about this? "A good man is kind to his animals, but the wicked are cruel to theirs." Proverbs 12:10
Chris Mercer told me: "The new hunting regulations are nothing but an elaborate public relations exercise. There never was any intention to stop the cruelty, so what we have here is a formula of pious, unenforceable aspirations, all designed to stifle public criticism. The result is pain and death for the animal and the plundering of our wildlife. There is a moral issue here, which is being studiously ignored."
The Con in Conservation
Christ Mercer has much documentation and photographic evidence. "There is a con in SA Conservation. They are all involved. Just look at the fragmentation of our conservation structures, the flawed democratic process, the loopholes and loose standards, the cronyism, incompetence, ethical illiteracy and a culture of cruelty."
Victories in Kenya, Botswana, Zambia and Uganda
However, there are examples of countries that have taken this seriously. Kenya banned trophy hunting 35 years ago. Botswana and Zambia are now banning trophy hunting. The president of Uganda has recently issued an order to shoot all poachers on sight in National Game Reserves. The plundering of Africa wildlife by organised crime syndicates is a war.
"How long will the land lie parched and the grass in every field be withered? Because those who live in it are wicked, the animals and birds have perished." Jeremiah 12:4
Creation and Stewardship
In the light of the clear teaching of Scripture concerning Creation and mankind's responsibility for it, we should treat animals with the love and concern of those who must give an account of our conduct to Almighty God on the Day of Judgement. We need to recognise that the welfare and protection of animals is an essential part of our Christian responsibility. We must do all that we can to secure the wellbeing of all animals, who, with ourselves, inhabit the earth and so fulfil the Creative joy and purposes of Almighty God.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless." Proverbs 31:8
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
You can also view a slide presentation on the march for Lions on our www.thebibleandanimals.org website.