South Africa: Jabula – Another victim of the petting farm industry

The so-called petting farm industry is in fact a cruel and greedy business which claims countless victims. The young lion Jabula is one of them. This is his story.


Helping in a lion breeding station is particularly popular amongst young people who believe that it is a way of helping the lion cubs who are left behind. Something that only a few suspect: Behind the petting farm industry you can find a cruel business driven by the greed for profit, which ends fatally for most of the animals. The following photo shows Jabula, a lion cub from South Africa. Like many other lions before him, he fell victim to the petting farm industry – this is his story:

Jabula and his two sisters were born about one and a half years ago in Predator's Pride Park. Only a few days after their birth they were separated from their mother and brought to the Chameleon Village Lion and Tiger Park to get slowly used to humans. In the following eight months Jabula and his sisters served as a tourist attraction: the lions served as photo objects throughout the day, were stroked and cuddled by strangers. What may sound nice is anything but pleasant for the lion cubs: Jabula and his sisters not only suffered from having been separated from their mother – the lion's keeping was also not species-appropriate.


After Jabula and his sisters had become too big for the petting farm industry and Chameleon Village Lion and Tiger Park could no longer earn money with them, they were taken back to their breeder in Predator's Pride Park. Some cubs are used for so-called "lion walks" where tourists walk with the lions under the supervision of a guide. In Jabula's case, his sisters and other lions were sold to Wag'n Bietjie Farm about two months after arrival at Predator's Pride Park.

Jabula stayed at Predator's Pride Park and was used for tourism for several months. Since it was too big and dangerous for humans after some time, Jabula's fate was sealed in another way:

In April 2018 the lion was illegally stunned and sold to Wag'n Bietjie Farm. No permits or documents were available for the transport. The Wag'n Bietje farm should be Jabula's last stop: Not long after his arrival, Jabula was killed and his bones sold to Asia for healing. At the time of Jabula's arrival, Wag'n Bietjie Farm was home to over 200 more lions, who were also to fall victim to the bone trade.


The shocking story of Jabula is unfortunately not an isolated case. Hundreds of lions will die the same way he did. So look carefully when choosing volunteer projects and tourist attractions! Take a look at how you can help to make a stand against this ruthless and animal despising business:

  • Don't visit lion parks! Anyone who takes a picture with one of the animals or goes for a walk with them supports this perfidious industry.
  • When choosing a volunteer project, make sure that the institution behind it is serious and ethical. Take your time and question critically! An ethical institution does not offer any of the above interactions with animals.
  • Tell others about this cruel business – because those who are enlightened usually act responsibly.

For more information on the practice of the petting farm industry, we recommend our article on volunteering with lions.

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