“Must-knows” when participating in volunteer projects with lions

Getting close to lion cubs and at the same time contributing to animal welfare: this is how many tourists tend to think when going on a journey to Africa in order to participate in voluntary work in lion breeding stations.

Common belief spread by those stations of hand-reared lion cubs being returned to the wild in the aftermath is a myth, in fact. For a lion cub chances to be released safely back into the wild are equal to zero. In real life there are bitter facts hidden behind the petting zoo practice:

Disorder of instinct development and natural balance

Fear of human beings is the most striking instinct to survive in the wild. This and other natural instincts cannot be developed by lion cubs if they are taken away from their mother just seconds after birth and if they are getting used to human beings by hand raising and daily care. Moreover, lionesses are thrown back into reproduction cycle by petting zoo industry and are forced to give birth to lion cubs two or three times a year; in the wild they give birth to cubs every two years only.

There is a strong bond between mother lions and their cubs. It is destroyed by hand raising in a very young stadium and as a result, mother lions and their cubs are extremely stressed out by it. In the wild, young lionesses stay with their pack, unless adverse circumstances occur forcing the pack to resolve and split into smaller groups. Male lions spend the first two years of their life with their mother until their fathers banish them as potential opponents.

Cruel practices

Lion cubs, which grow up in captivity, often become the “toy” of unknowing tourists and volunteers. These people do not know that there is a mother lion which is most likely to suffer her own death in a part of the area which cannot be seen by tourists. If mother lions are infertile, they lose their market value in the petting zoo industry and in most cases, are put to sleep. On top of that, their bones are often sold as “medical cure” on black markets and/or in China.

As soon as the lion cubs are all grown up, they are used for walks, so-called lion walks. Tourists are allowed to have a stroll with the animals accompanied by an animal guardian in an area which is believed to be safe. The twisted thing about it: in order to not risk anything und to shut down animal instincts, lions often are drugged for these walks.

Chances of survival for lions bred in captivity

Lions bred in captivity are released back into the wild in an ethically incorrect way. After their release they have to face problems like being accepted in another pack of lions and procuring food on their own without fully developed hunting skills. Chances survive in the wild are low because the animals were not able to develop a natural hunting instinct when they were split from their mother lion.

Wrong arguments and mad lies

When petting zoos and canned hunting organizations claim to benefit animal welfare by returning some lions into the wild, it is almost certain that this is a bad lie and only serve these companies to grow their dirty business.

Many institutions promote the offer “voluntary work with lions” and claim to contribute to the preservation of lions. They argue that lion population rises in captivity and that they are able to reduce demand of lion hunters. These arguments are wrong in substance because most lion hunters are from lower social groups. They are paid starvation wages by middlemen of great criminal syndications from Southeast Asia and China. These locals are not able to bring up the money which is requested on homepages of canned hunting organizations.

Documentaries like Blood Lions show these and other lies very clear and expose lion breeding industry and all participating auteurs.

NATUCATE sees itself in special charge of choosing project partners

As the first German operator we were recommended by the organization Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH) for voluntary work as an ethical agency. As a voluntary worker at NATUCATE you get the chance to watch over threatened species and can make an active contribution to their protection and preservation.

It is up to you which kind of voluntary project you would like to participate in. Help spread the word about animal breeding for abusive purposes and promote animal welfare and species conservation in an ethical way and for the long term! This is the only way to end this business driven by the greed of gain.

Author of original text: Sarah Kessler | Publication date: August 21, 2015

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