Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Canned Lions

photo: Julie Hartz

You just want to cuddle them. You mustn't, of course, because they're dangerous.

Unless they're drugged. Then they can't put up much of a fight, and you can shoot them like tin ducks at a carnival.

This, believe it or not, is an actual sport referred to as "canned lion hunting."

Big, tough heroes, shooting drugged animals. Manly men! Womanly women! Powerful hunters defeating the wild beast!

Sheesh. Somebody's got an ego problem, and it isn't the lions.

There's a lot of information in this post, based on a press release which I've edited. Thanks to Susan Campisi for the information. She's been working tirelessly to organize the March 15th rally in Los Angeles. I hope you can go.


LOS ANGELES, CA On Saturday, March 15, 2014, over 46 major cities around the world join to rally to raise awareness of the “canned lion” hunting industry in South Africa, to educate the public about how endangered lions are in the wild and to advocate for legislation to protect them.

Speakers at the Los Angeles rally include actress and wildlife advocate Tippi Hedren, Founder and President of the ROAR Foundation and the Shambala Preserve, Martine Colette, Founder and Director of the Wildlife Waystation and designated wild animal expert for the city of Los Angeles, and Matt Rossell, Campaigns Director for Animal Defenders International. Members of The Tokens will sing their ageless 1961 hit song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” [The Tokens are not confirmed as of this posting, but there will be music.]

Marchers will walk down Wilshire Blvd in a funeral procession in memory of all the murdered lions to the South African Consulate, then return to the La Brea Tar Pits for the rally.

Canned hunting is a legal practice in South Africa where lions are bred in captivity, trapped within enclosures, then shot and killed as trophies. Lion cubs are hand reared at these murder farms, where unknowing volunteers habituate them to humans. When large enough, these lions are confined, often drugged, and killed by bullet or arrow in canned hunts. Their heads are imported to the US, Europe, and other countries and their bones sold to countries all over Asia for bogus “medicinal purposes.”

Today there are fewer than 4,000 lions left in the wild in South Africa, but more than 8,000 held there in captivity. The demand for lion bones through Asia is posing an increasing threat to wild lions. In 1970 there were 200,000 lions living in the wild around the world; today only about 20,000 remain. Lions will be extinct in less than twenty years if action is not taken today.

People around the world are calling for the South African government to ban canned hunting. Other goals of the global march are to:

Change the listing of lions under the Endangered Species Act from “threatened” to “endangered”
Ban canned lion hunting around the world
End the export of lion bones to China where they are used for “medicinal purposes”
Prohibit the import of lion trophies to USA, EU, and other countries
Educate the public about how threatened lions are in the wild
Advocate for legislation to protect lions

WHEN: Saturday, March 15, 2014 | 11am - 2pm
WHERE: La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Front of the George C. Page Museum at the lion statue.

DETAILS: The march begins at 11am. Marchers will walk down Wilshire Blvd in a funeral procession in memory of all the murdered lions to the South African Consulate then return for a rally. Rally begins appx. 12:15pm.


Global March for Lions
Campaign Against Canned Hunting, co-founded by Chris Mercer
Los Angeles March for Lions Facebook Event Page (Go here to sign up for the LA march. 247 signed up as of this posting!)
Global March for Lions Facebook Page
Chris Mercer's PSA “Roar For a Cause”
Radio interview with Chris Mercer about Canned Hunting
Global March For Lions – Trailer Documentary Short
Tippi Hedren’s ROAR Foundation
Animal Defenders International
Martine’ Colette’s Wildlife Waystation
The Token’s hit song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”
The Tokens
Background on the song The Lion Sleeps Tonight, written by South African Solomon Linda 

Tourists Lured to South Africa to Take Part in Shameful Trophy Hunts
Why Are We Still Hunting Lions?
Threat to Conservation: Lion Bone Trade on Rise
Canned Hunting: The Lions Bred for Slaughter
Louis Theroux’s BBC show “What’s the Value of a Lion?” 
Fish in a Barrel, Lions in a Cage
The Captive Wildlife Safety Act


Susan Campisi said...

Thank you for posting this, Petrea. Canned lion hunting is a harsh reality and not fun to ponder. I appreciate your spreading the word. The inspiring thing is that the march is now up to 55 cities around the world. It rekindles my faith in humanity that people around the world are rising up to protect this majestic species. The LA event should be fun. I don't think The Tokens will make it, but we have a New Orleans band, Vaud and the Villains, playing music while marching with us. Thank you again for spreading the word.

Petrea Burchard said...

55 cities is fantastic. You and all the organizers are doing a wonderful job.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

they do this in Texas too

Susan Campisi said...

Thanks, Petrea. It's a lot of work but well worth it. I hope it makes a difference for lions.

PA, I heard that but couldn't find any sources to support it. Plenty of canned hunting in Texas but not canned LION hunting, at least not openly. Where did you hear that it's in Texas?

Bellis said...

This is appalling! Susan's very brave to campaign against it, and I'm a coward. It drains me emotionally just to think about it. I hope the marches get lots of media coverage.

Petrea Burchard said...

I've heard about the Texas stuff too, but can't remember the source.

Bellis, I agree, Susan is brave. There are other things we can do if marching doesn't feel right--spread the word, contribute money, etc.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'm not sure if I know what I know because I saw it on 20/20 or my sister told me about it or
a combination of both.

Something about the zoo's curator being horrified to find out that one of the people he dealt with in the supply chain was involved in these activities. It was awhile ago.

btw: Tipi was the head speaker at the opening of our Metro Station in El Monte (based on Gay's Lion Farm). Nice lady. We did research over at Shambala.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thanks, PA. Sounds about right.

Ms. Hedren is an amazing advocate for animals.

Bellis said...

You've been to Shambala? What's it like?

Susan Campisi said...

Bellis, you mean emotionally brave? It doesn't feel brave. For me, it's a way to transform my deep sadness and intense outrage at the way our wildlife is being killed off around the world into action. It actually feels empowering, as if maybe collectively we can really stop these heinous crimes against nature.

You are all welcome to bypass the march and meet at the La Brea Tar Pits at 12/12:15 for the rally. Come here Tippi and other speakers stand up for lions! It should be an interesting afternoon. And the park is worth a visit in and of itself. With the Page Museum and LACMA as neighbors, it's one of LA's gems.

Shambala is open one weekend a month to visitors. We should plan an excursion. Maybe in April?

PA, I want to hear more about the Metro Station opening.

As for canned lion hunting in the US, I need to do more research. I think it was happening at one point, but now it's illegal. I'll do some digging in the coming days. And I'm sure the speakers at the rally will have info about it.

Oh, and late-breaking news from South Africa, the Archbishop Desmond Tutu will give a public blessing in support of the march. Or something like that. It's going to be a big day!

Sorry to ramble on... I guess I'm obsessed.

altadenahiker said...

thank you Susan!

Petrea Burchard said...

It's exciting to hear about Tutu's involvement. You are making a global difference!

TheChieftess said...

Wow...that's a positively disgusting practice...march for all of us who can't be there Susan!!!
There are a lot of animals affected by the primitive medicinal practices...I support traditional medical practices in many instances, but not at the expense of such grand animals...and even the not so grand.

Susan Campisi said...

I said "here" instead of "hear." No more comments before coffee.

My pleasure, Hiker.

It is exciting, Petrea! Those South African activists are inspiring.

Well said, Chieftess.

José Mendonça said...

You've chosen such a beautiful photo. I love lions and I'm so glad to have had the chance to see them in the wild and spent some time among them. The closest I've been to a lion was at the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania: it was so very hot that, when our vehicle stoped, 3 beautiful beasts came to lay down on the shadow of the car. If I would strech my arm, I could have touched one of them. :-)

Petrea Burchard said...

Susan sent me several of Julie Hartz's photos to choose from. I liked the reflection in this one.