Lion Translocation Inspired by Film

A pride of three wild lion (two females and one male) are currently being introduced into the Somkhanda Community Game Reserve in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa from the andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve, also of KwaZulu-Natal, as part of their lion management strategy. This lion translocation was inspired by a ground-breaking feature documentary – Blood Lions™ which exposed the captive breeding and canned hunting industry. “It is estimated that there are currently between 6,000 to 8,000 predators in captivity in South Africa, mostly living in appalling conditions with inadequate breeding and welfare protocols in place to protect them,” said Dr. Andrew Venter, Wildlands’ CEO and Executive Producer of Blood Lions™. “Furthermore, lion ecologists state that captive breeding plays no role in the conservation of this species, and to date no captive bred, hand reared lions have successfully been rehabilitated into the wild. It is a shame that we now need to refer to lion as either wild or captive, but Wildlands are very proud to say that we have assisted in the expansion of wild lion range through the introduction of this pride onto Somkhanda. This is truly a pride we can be proud of!”

“A central theme of the Blood Lions™ campaign calls for lion conservation to be managed by the recognised conservation community,” said ILCW member Ian Michler, Consultant and Lead Character for Blood Lions™. “The Somkhanda release highlights what this entails: securing suitable habitat and using wild lions from reputable sources in a responsible release programme. Congratulations to Wildlands and their partners for this initiative that increases the range of wild lands in South Africa.”

The translocation process started on the 13th of May at andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve and will “end” when the pride are placed in a boma at Somkhanda. The lion will be housed in the boma for approximately 6 – 9 weeks to adjust to their new environment, and Wildlands hope to release them onto the Somkhanda Reserve at the end of July 2017.

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IUCN to Support End to Canned Hunting

IUCN World Conservation Congress Underway
(
The congress ends on September 10, 2016.)
The congress, currently taking place in Hawaii, has had a very successful first half. Please follow the link for highlights.

The Blood Lions™ team, in association with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), South African Wildlife College (SAWC), Wildlands and the National Association of Conservancies (NACSA), has secured global conservation support for their efforts to stop the canned hunting and non-conservation based captive breeding of Lion and other Predators. This will be formally announced at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii, from the 1st to 10th September. The IUCN – the International Union for the Conservation of Nature- is the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, with over 1 300 member organizations and support from over 16 000 environmental experts.

The theme for this year’s IUCN conference is “Planet at a Crossroads”, and the presenting of this particular motion could not be more relevant to the IUCN statement that: “The ecosystems that underpin our economies, well-being and survival are collapsing. Species are becoming extinct at unprecedented rates. Our climate is in crisis. And it’s all happening on our watch…Time is not on our side. The success of these agreements depends on how quickly we turn them into sustainable action.”
The IUCN support flows from a formal motion submitted by the Blood Lions™ team and partners, to the IUCN membership. This motion has been approved and will be adopted during the congress.

The motion recognizes:
* That the continued breeding of lions for the specific purpose of ‘canned lion hunting’ or ‘canned lion shooting’, by sectors of the wildlife industry in South Africa has escalated.  ‘Canned hunting’ is regarded as a situation where an animal is physically unable to escape from a restricted enclosure and/or is captive bred and mentally disinclined to escape due to humanisation as a result of hand-rearing, petting of young animals and close human contact in captive facilities.
* That professional hunting associations within South Africa and internationally oppose the hunting of animals under ‘canned’ conditions;
* The limited scope of legal options currently available to the South African Government to terminate ‘canned lion hunting’;
* That most South African captive lion breeding facilities do not conform to or comply with the animal welfare standards published by the International Organisation for Animal health;
* That welfare matters associated with the captive breeding of lion are currently not regulated through appropriate legislative provisions;
* That enhanced compliance monitoring and enforcement is required to ensure compliance with existing legislative provisions relating to captive breeding facilities;
* That there is a need to undertake research to determine whether the captive breeding of lion has a conservation role and the impact of hunting of captive populations on wild lion populations.
* That the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s Cat Specialist Group has not identified captive breeding as a conservation action.
* That captive breeding of lions has not been identified as a conservation action in any African Lion Conservation Planning Programme.

The motion requests the IUCN Director General, relevant Commissions and the South African National Committee to encourage the South African Government, as well as all other southern African Governments, to support this initiative by reviewing existing legislative provisions regulating this activity and drafting, enacting and implementing legislation by 2020 and giving reasonable time frames to:

a.   develop and implement norms and standards, supported by the South African Scientific Authority, that define the conditions under which the hunting of Lions is regarded as “canned hunting” and to legally prohibit the hunting of lions under these conditions.

b.   restrict captive breeding of lions to registered zoos or registered facilities that demonstrate a clear conservation benefit;

c.   develop norms and standards for the management of captive-bred lions in South Africa that address welfare, biodiversity and utilisation aspects (including new emerging uses such as harvesting of lion for the bone and meat trade), taking into account Threatened or Protected Species (ToPS) regulations, legislation and IUCN guidelines governing this activity;

d.   ensure compliance with, and enforcement of, all relevant legislation.

After the motion has been formally approved, the Director General and IUCN Commissions will be requested to take the necessary actions to provide the guidance, leadership, support and international lobbying that may be required by the South African Government to enable the motion; and encourage and provide support for other Member States in southern Africa to follow this initiative.

Blood Lions™, a film launched in July 2015, has brought the horrors of predator breeding, canned hunting and a variety of other exploitative activities using lions and other species to the world’s attention in a way that has not been achieved before. The films powerful visual narrative as well as the global campaign have provided a compelling call to action to have these practices stopped, as well as inspired partnerships that have enabled this motion to be presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. More information about the film.

Blood Lions–Behind the Scenes

Published Nov. 11, 2015
Empowers Africa Presents Film
Blood Lions–Behind the Scenes
The Explorers Club, New York, December 2, 6:00-8:30 p.m.

7. Pippa Hankinson_1

Photo © Pippa Hankinson
Non-profit foundation Empowers Africa is hosting a special screening of the new documentary film, Blood Lions™, which exposes the shocking captive lion breeding and canned hunting industry in South Africa. This will be the first public screening of the full 85-minute documentary in the United States.
The fundraiser will take place at The Explorers Club, 46 E 70th St, New York, starting with cocktails at 6:00 p.m. The special screening will be followed by a panel discussion on South Africa’s captive lion industry and its links to canned hunting, voluntourism and the burgeoning lion bone trade with Asia, featuring Dr. Andrew Venter, CEO of Wildlands, Dr. Luke Hunter, President of Panthera, and ILCW member (South Africa) Ian Michler, Blood Lions™ consultant, and lead character.

“We are hosting this fundraiser to support the Blood Lions™ campaign to raise awareness and put a halt to this brutal and unethical industry,’’ says Krista Krieger, executive director of Empowers Africa.  “If hunters, volunteers and tourists stopped supporting South Africa’s commercial lion breeders, it would go a long way towards closing their facilities down.”
According to leading South African NGOs Wildlands and Endangered Wildlife Trust, as well as the respected New York based NGO, Panthera, captive lion-breeding does nothing for lion conservation. Not a single captive-bred, hand-reared lion has been successfully released into the wild. Instead, every day in South Africa, two to three captive-bred, effectively tame, lions are killed in canned lion hunts.  Helping to fuel this industry are eager volunteers who unwittingly pay up to $1,000 per week to hand-rear lion cubs that have been forcibly removed from their mothers after birth.
Says Dr. Andrew Venter, CEO of Wildlands: “The scale of the industry is huge, with some 4,000 lion cubs born in captive breeding facilities in South Africa each year. Unbelievably, in South Africa canned lion hunting is legal, generating some US$10 million per year.’’
Dr Luke Hunter, President of Panthera, says the growth in Asian demand for lion bones (used as a proxy for tiger bones in traditional Chinese medicines) has created yet another revenue stream. South African lion breeders export over 1,000 lion skeletons annually for the lion bone trade in Asia. Hunter says: “There is absolutely no medicinal value in lion parts – you might as well consume cow for all the health benefits of lion bone. South Africa’s legal trade only fuels the demand for big cat body parts, providing a ready market for cats poached in the wild.’’
In order to reserve a seat for the Blood Lions™ event on 2 December, a donation of $150 can be made for regular seating or a $250 for VIP seating. “All donations from the screening will be granted from Empowers Africa to Wildlands to support the Blood Lions™ campaign. Funds raised will be used to recruit additional NSPCA Wildlife Unit inspectors to prevent abuse in the captive lion industry and to support wild lion conservation in South Africa,” Krieger says.
“We are thrilled to be supported by Empowers Africa in New York,” says Blood Lions™ co-producer Pippa Hankinson of Regulus Vision. “It’s been four years since I embarked on this project and I am determined to see an end to this cruel industry. As Martin Luther King Jr. famously said: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”.
For tickets for the event, click here.

Blood Lions

Posted October 28 2015.
Blood Lions image

Blood Lions is a new documentary that shines a light onto the shadows of canned or captive hunting in Africa – how lions are being “bred for the bullet.” The film follows acclaimed environmental journalist, safari operator and ILCW member Ian Michler, and Rick Swazey, an American hunter, on their journey to uncover the realities about the multi-million dollar predator breeding and canned (or captive) lion hunting industries in South Africa. It is a story that blows the lid off claims made by these operators in attempting to justify what they do. Last year alone over 800 captive lions were shot in South Africa, mostly by wealthy international hunters under conditions that are anything but sporting.
Ian Michler has been following this story since 1999, and he goes onto the breeding farms to witness the impacts that decades of intensive breeding is having on the captive lions and other predators. Aggressive farmers and most within the professional hunting community resent his questioning, but the highly profitable commercialization of lions is plain to see – cub petting, volunteer recruitment, lion walking, canned hunting, trading and the new lion bone trade are on the increase. And all are being justified under the guise of conservation, research and education.
In parallel the film follows Rick Swazey, who purchases a lion online from his home in Hawaii. He then travels to South Africa to follow the path canned hunters do.
The film interviews trophy hunters, operators and breeders as well as recognized lion ecologists, conservationists and animal welfare experts.The film shows in intimate detail how lucrative it is to breed lions, and how the authorities and most professional hunting and tourism bodies have become complicit in allowing the industries to flourish.
There is also hope in this story as the Australian government recently announced a complete ban on the importation of all African lion trophies into Australia.
http://www.bloodlions.org/