HSI campaigns to rescue a pride of lions - victims of canned hunting
More information on what HSI is doing about Canned Hunting and what action you can take. Download PDF, 460 kB.
Sanwild, a well respected animal protection organisation in South Africa, has urgently requested our help with the rescue of six lions that had been lured to a bait, drugged by hunters and abducted from Kruger National Park to be used in canned hunts.
For those of you who do not know what this term means, a canned hunt is essentially a trophy hunt where the hunter is guaranteed a kill because the animal is pre-captured and released into a small enclosed area where it has no cover and no chance of escape. The hunter pays an agreed sum of money depending on the rarity of the species and kills the trapped animal at close range.
Some animals have been reared for this purpose and are so used to being handled that they will approach the hunter for a lick or a cuddle, only to have a bullet, arrow or knife end their life. Over 100,000 animals die this way each year in Africa alone.
These six lions had been wild caught, but were fortunately rescued before they had been held for too long and rendered unsuitable for wild release. The lions are a family unit and are in such magnificent condition they have been christened ‘The Royal Pride’.
When Sanwild stepped in to rescue the lions it was found that one of the females was pregnant and while the legal tussle for ‘ownership’ continued ‘Queen’ gave birth. It is now vital that we move this family unit into the 6000 hectares that has been secured for them to ensure the cubs grow up in a natural environment with very little contact with humans.
Sanwild have contacted us urgently and asked if we could cover the costs of feeding and transporting them back to the wild as quickly as possible. We could not refuse their call for help and are working to get them back into the wild as soon as we can, but as you can imagine the transportation of wild lions is as expensive as it is dangerous.
Although we have sent the emergency funds for feeding till they can be moved, we have underwritten, and still need to pay for, the transportation and reintroduction into the reserve. We urgently need to raise the funds for this emergency release and are asking for your help.
There would be no point to this exercise if we ended up in a revolving door situation, with the lions being poached again for a canned hunt operation, so it is vital that we tandem this rescue and release with effective on the ground anti-poaching units.
To this end we are also going to help fund the Sanwild Eco Rangers, a highly trained anti-poaching unit. To effectively combat the problem on the ground Sanwild is looking to recruit 50 individuals from local communities to be trained into crack anti-poaching units. They will be trained with military precision and will be equipped with the latest technology in GPS and Cyber-Tracking. Only with your help can we provide these critical resources.
The first 10 rangers have already been appointed and they are now highly trained individuals who have been taught to apply a totally professional attitude at all times and they are already having a major impact in the areas they patrol. What we desperately need to do is help them expand this operation.
The anti-poaching work we help fund in other areas of Africa and Asia has made an enormous difference, and in some areas poaching has ceased altogether with the presence of armed patrols. To ensure these lions have a future in the wild we must do all we can to protect them once they are released into the reserve. All across Africa lion populations are increasingly threatened with oblivion. Anti-poaching units will not only help protect the ‘Royal Pride’ but also the other animals in the region that are under threat.
With your help we can give this family of lions a future.
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