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Print Issue 44 November 150dpi

Tourists Urged to Reject Big Cat Tourist Attractions

Today, the 10th of August is World Lion Day. This day, founded by the Big Cat Rescue, is a day to honour and celebrate the King of the jungle. However, the day was also created to awareness about the fact that Lions and other big cats are facing extinction, mainly due to their natural habitats being destroyed, and of course, because they are hunted and killed by poachers and other human beings that for some reason, enjoy shooting animals.

In the spirit of World Lion Day, South African actress Pearl Thusi is teaming up with Humane Society International (HIS), to urge travellers, travel guides, and tour operators to combat the exploitation of lions and their cubs.

In the wild, Lion cubs are supposed to remain with their mothers for 18 months in order for them to learn the vital survival skills they need to thrive in the wild on their own. These tourist ‘attractions’ that breed lions for the purpose of pure exploitation, encourage human-lion interactions such as bottle feeding or petting lion cubs that are claimed to be orphaned. In reality, the lion cubs are forced from their mothers too soon and the notion that they are orphaned is false. It is just a way of sanitising the fact that these animals are being exploited.

Worse than this, there are still trophy hunting trips operating throughout Africa and as a result of this it is estimated that about 20,000 lions remain in the wild in Africa. Between 6,000 and 8,000 lions are still suffering in captivity in 260 facilities across South Africa.

Refusing to participate in or promote human-lion interactions will gradually raise awareness about these issues and signing petitions that urge tourist operators to stop exploiting captive lions with help put an end to the exploitation.

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