Shocking photos have been released showing neglected lions covered in mange at a breeding facility in South Africa. The horrifying treatment of these animals, bred to be petted by tourists for selfies, is an insight into 260 farms breeding an estimated 12,000 lions.
According to the Metro, photos released by an unnamed source, depict the overcrowded conditions where the lions are nearly bald and suffering. The breeding farms are called a “snuggle scam” because they supply the lion cubs to tourist attractions; tourists are generally completely unaware of the animal suffering and despicable conditions where the lions are bred and raised.
A recent investigation by the National Security for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals revealed 108 neglected lions, tigers, caracals and leopards living in egregious conditions. South Africa government, however sanctions the captive breeding industry as well as the international bone trade, despite global outrage.
In addition, the South African breeding facilities have also included other unsavory practices including “green hunts” where animals are darted with immobilizing ammunition, cross breeding of lions and tigers to produce ligers and tigons and illegally exporting lion skins hidden under deer hides.
Cubs born on breeding farms are separated from their mothers just days after they are born. In the wild, cubs stay with their mothers for 18 months and rarely re-breed in less than 15 to 24 months. When the cubs are removed from their mothers, the breeding continues prematurely; and in environments of filth, little food and poor hygiene as shown in the disturbing photos.
“… The cubs are exploited their whole lives, first as props by paying tourists looking for selfie shots whilst petting or bottle-feeding the animals, then later as part of ‘walking with lions’ safaris,” stated Audrey Delsink, Wildlife Director at Humane Society International/Africa.
Less than 3,000 wild lions are left to roam free. There are more lions kept in captivity, and their eventual fate is uncertain.
For additional information and how you can help, please click here at the Campaign Against Canned Hunting.
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