Today's Big Stories

Lion conservationist explains why lion petting is a no-no

In our 'Welcome 2 Jozi' promotion earlier this week, roving reporter Simmi Aref reported back on his visit to the Lion Park. His comments about getting a photo with the lion cubs being worth the money, caused an uproar.

Ian Michler, Consultant, Researcher and Conservationist featured in the canned hunting documentary Blood Lions explained to John Robbie the link between parks like this one who offer cub petting and walking with lions, and the canned lion hunting trade.

First of all, these facilities that offer cub petting and walking with lions, require a continuous battery chain of young cubs to come in to their facility. Once they get to four months old approximately, they then become a little dangerous to pet and cuddle. So they then move on to what we call walking with lions.

Ian Michler, Consultant, Researcher & Conservationist

Once these young lions reach 12 to 16 months that also becomes too dangerous, says Michler, and they then need to be replaced.

So you have this chain of exploitation that is taking place.

Ian Michler, Consultant, Researcher & Conservationist

Michler referred to a recent documentary Safari: Paying to Kill, which he claims drew a clear link showing that the Lion Park sold lions to a man Nazeer Kadji in 2013.

The reporter phoned Mr Kadji and he confirmed very clearly that they were offering canned hunts. They also interviewed an employee from Lion Park who testified that lions were being sold to hunting operations. John Robbie said in his comment that he was assured that the Lion Park were no longer involved in that business, and that all their lions are chipped and accounted for.

But Michler says after these lions have served there purpose as youngsters, they no longer serve a purpose.

What do they do with these animals?

Ian Michler, Consultant, Researcher & Conservationist

Michler says they are many ways to get around canned hunting by using a middle man.

He says every single legitimate lion scientist and conservationist and conservationist agency, supports the aims and objectives of blood lions, to bring an end to the exploitative breeding of lions and other predators.

There is no conservation value whatsoever in these facilities.

Ian Michler, Consultant, Researcher & Conservationist

Listen to the full conversation below:

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