Jabula – Another Victim of the Petting Zoo Industry

Working in a lion breeding station happens to be quite popular among young adults which tend to believe that they could help lion cubs that are left behind. But what most of them don’t know: Behind the petting zoo practice hides an ice-cold business, driven by the greed for profit – in the end, most animals die from the consequences. The following photo shows Jabula, a young lion from South Africa. Like many lions before him, he became victim to the cruel petting zoo practice – and this is his story:

About one and a half year ago, Jabula and his two sisters were born in Predator’s Pride Park. A few days after they were born, the cubs were separated from their mother and brought to the Chameleon Village Lion and Tiger Park to familiarise them with getting in touch with humans. The following eight months, Jabula and his sisters had to serve as a tourist attraction: the cubs were used as photo objects the entire day and were petted and cuddled by strangers. It may sound nice, but it was anything but that: Jabula and his sisters didn’t only suffer from being separated from their mother – moreover, they were not kept in a species-appropriate environment at all.

After Jabula and his sisters had become too big for the petting zoo practice and the Chameleon Village Lion and Tiger Park didn’t earn any money with them, they were brought back to their breeder in Predator’s Pride Park. Some of the juvenile lions are used for so-called ‘Lion Walks’ – during these walks tourists go out for a guided stroll with the lions. In Jabula’s case, his sisters and other lions were sold to the Wag’n Bietjie Farm two months after they were brought back to Predator’s Pride Park.
Jabula was left in Predator’s Pride Park and used for tourism a few additional months. Because Jabula was too big and dangerous for humans after a while, his fate was sealed in another way:
In April 2018, Jabula was illegally drugged and sold to the Wag’n Bietjie Farm. There weren’t any valid permissions or papers for his transport. The Wag’n Bietjie Farm should be the last stage of his life: shortly after his arrival at the farm, Jabula was executed and his bones were sold to Asia as a medical cure. The Wag’n Bietjie Farm hosted about 200 other lions at the time Jabula arrived – they all were destined to die for bone trade.

Sadly, the cruel story of Jabula is not an isolated case. There are hundreds of lions that face the same fate as Jabula. Pay special attention when choosing a volunteer project or tourist attraction! This way you can directly fight this profit-greedy and dreadful business:

  • Don’t visit lion parks! Everyone who takes photos with one of these animals or goes for a stroll with them is supporting this perfidious industry.
  • When choosing a volunteer project, make sure that the institution providing the project is reputable and ethical. An ethical organization does not provide any of the interactions mentioned above.
  • Spread the word about that cruel business – because someone who is aware usually takes reliable actions.

For further information on the petting zoo industry we recommend our article about Volunteer Project with Lions.


Stichting Spots, SPCA Bloemfontein

CACH – Campaign against Canned Hunting

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