Responsible Tourism: The Ugly Truth of Cub Petting
This post has been difficult to put into writing. While we now pride ourselves on being responsible tourists, the road we’ve traveled to get there has been a bit windy. As travelers, like so many others, we have made a lot of mistakes, but what you are about to read is by far our largest regret. As so many readers do not know us personally, please read this post with the knowledge that our coping mechanism tends to be humor with a large dash of sarcasm. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not take this post as an advertisement for cub petting. It is anything but. We are heartbroken over fueling this horrific industry and aim to spread awareness about the dangers of…
I mean, just look at this face!
Who wouldn’t want to romp around with LION CUBS!?
OMG! THIS little nugget playing with a rope toy!!
Look at this one surveying his tiny territory!
SQUEEEEEEEEEE! This one let me kiss his little noggin!!!!
LOOK! Now we’re having a walk with a pack of lions! WOW!
This one even performed circus tricks for us!
Cool, right? Well, let’s take off our rose-colored sunglasses.
What if I told you that these lion cubs were taken away from their mother at just two days old?
What if I told you that the park “rangers” told us to whack this little guy on the nose when he started to behave like a lion?
What if I told you 6 of these cubs were left in their crate (pictured in the background above) for 12+ hours without access to food or water?
What if I told you this lion face planted into the dirt while performing a circus trick for a piece of rotting chicken? As we proceeded with the walk, he bled from the mouth the entire way back.
OK. OK. Maybe I’m not being clear…
What if I told you every single one of these lions will never experience life outside captivity?
Every single one of these lions will face a very bleak future. How do I know this, you may wonder? Well, there has never been ONE LION successfully released into the wild after being hand-reared by humans. NOT ONE.
NOT THIS ONE.
OR THIS ONE
OR ANY OF HIS RELATIVES.
These lions are bred for ONE REASON…TOURISM. To add to this already horrific industry, cub petting feeds directly into the canned hunting industry.
What’s canned hunting?
I’m going to take my own liberties with defining this term. Canned hunting is when a person with too much disposable income enjoys being a big-game hunter but doesn’t have the time to hunt a predator outside of a controlled setting. (Anyone recall this asshole!? ). Any coward with $50,000 and zero conscience can arrange a controlled hunt in South Africa. In as little as 48 hours you’ll be headed home to mount your big game head on a wall in your big dumb house.
Hmm. So what does canned hunting have to do with cub petting!? Let’s put the pieces together.
When tourists seek out lion lodges to visit in South Africa, they are bombarded with pictures just like the ones contained in this post. They’re undeniably cute and the thought of changing your profile picture to a snapshot of you smooching a lion cub’s little face is just too alluring! So, tourists flock to cub petting facilities where you hand over a hefty sum to snap the perfect selfie! As the cubs grow into lions they are exponentially less profitable, so the parks continue to breed cubs to keep a steady flow of uneducated tourists visiting their “sanctuaries”. So, simply, the parks fill up with adult lions that are no longer able to interact with humans, but also can’t be released into any other environment. Many of these lions are then sold to canned hunting farms where they await the same fate as Cecil, the highly publicized victim of a canned hunt.
We are not innocent. We have blood on our hands and are guilty of being very, very irresposible tourists, but in an effort to spread awareness we are admitting to our huge mistake & shedding light on an issue that is often brushed under the proverbial (hopefully not lion print) rug.
For more information on cub-petting and the canned-hunting industry, we
encourage beg you to visit BLOODLIONS.ORG & share this post on any and every platform you can!
In the weeks to come we will be exposing the lion park we visited in South Africa, as well as continuing this series on responsible tourism in relation to wild animals.
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