Netflix Africa picks up BLOOD LIONS documentary ahead of festive season break
The multi-award winning feature film documentary, Blood Lions, follows acclaimed environmental journalist and safari operator Ian Michler, and American hunter, Rick Swazey, on their journey to uncover the realities of the multi-million dollar predator breeding and canned lion hunting industries in South Africa. The documentary, which premiered in 2015, blew the lid off the canned hunting industry, and the associated exploitative industries of predator breeding, cub petting and voluntourism.
This comes just weeks after the release of a solid set of locally born guidelines and a comprehensive tool on captive wildlife interactions, specifically developed in the context of Southern Africa’s landscape, by the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (SATSA).
Many captive wildlife facilities around the country are getting themselves ready for the holiday influx of visitors, who are willing to pay vast amounts of money to pet lion cubs, walk with big cats or pose for selfies with cheetahs, tigers and lions.
“These unethical activities are often part of the value chain that further commoditizes the lifecycle of captive bred lions, ultimately leading to the killing of the very same lion you petted, for their trophies and/or their bones”, says Pippa Hankinson, Director of the Blood Lions campaign.
“The hands-on and close up tourist encounters, like cub petting and walking with big cats, do not only put captive wildlife under unnecessary stress, it also habituates these predators further. Unlike what many facilities claim, habituated lions cannot be released back into the wild and have therefore no conservation value”, states Dr Louise de Waal, Coordinator of the Lion Coalition.
“Habituated or not, these animals are predators and will remain wild, which can lead to serious injury or even death, when people interact with them”, de Waal adds.
Between 2006 and 2018, more than 40 captive big cat attacks on humans were recorded, of which 30% proved fatal. Of additional concern is that there is research currently being conducted around the possibility of the transmission of diseases between predators and humans, such as Zoonosis and Tuberculosis (TB).
SATSA has developed this easy-to-use interactive tool to allow visitors to assess animal interaction operations and make an informed decision to support only ethically sound and responsible facilities in South Africa.
"South Africa in the past has been known for its good 'best practice' principles in conservation and [the animal interaction] industry is definitely tarnishing that," said Keira Powers (SATSA Animal Interaction Committee Chairperson) at the Conservation Lab 2019.
“The Blood Lions team understands that parents are looking to entertain and educate their children during the summer holiday period, but we urge families to watch the documentary and visit only true wildlife sanctuaries. Those facilities that give wildlife that can’t be returned back into the wild a second chance by offering them a forever home without any interaction, breeding or trading. Alternatively, we encourage travellers to visit one of our stunning national parks or provincial reserves to experience predators in their natural habitat”, Hankinson continues.
Watch the Blood Lions documentary feature film on Netflix Africa