Treehugger has some rather unsettling news: The German zoo Serengeti-Park Hodenhagen has sold three lions to a South African park that offers amateur hunters the chance to hunt prey alongside professionals. The export was possible because African lions are classified as endangered, but not threatened by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITIES, an international agreement that works to ensure trade of wildlife and plants doesn't endanger their survival.
In spite of assurances that the lions won't be hunted, animal activists are concerned:
According to reports in the German news daily Tagesspiegel, the owner of the Serengeti Park, Fabrizio Sepe, was assured after the German Ministry for the Protection of Nature contacted their partners in South Africa: the animals would be used only for photo-safaris and breeding programs, it was promised. But that has not calmed animal protection groups, who are advocating for stronger protection against zoo animals being sold for breeding if successive generations will be deliberately used to attract people to the sport of killing big cats.
The whole practice of canned hunting, where hunters pay to shoot animals trapped in enclosed spaces, is particularly appalling. Plus, hunting fenced-in prey just doesn't seem to speak highly of the marksman's prowess, does it?
Unfortunately, you don't have to venture as far as South Africa to do some captive hunting. Though it's been banned to varying degrees in many states, others remain without any regulations. Of the more than 1,000 canned hunting preserves on private land in the United States, around 750 of them are located in Texas.
Photo courtesy of Dorothy van Heerden via Paws4life