Lion cub in a facility in South Africa

Breeding cruelty: how tourism is killing Africa’s lions



The welfare of thousands of lions is under threat from unethical tourism practices throughout Africa. On World Lion Day and each day we work to protect lions from suffering at the hands of cruel tourist attractions.

This lion in an Indonesian zoo is being forced (potentially drugged) to pose with tourists. TripAdvisor promotes and sells tickets for these kinds of cruel venues.

Many tourists are unwittingly creating demand that subjects lions to a lifetime of misery from the moment they are born.

Lion parks are becoming increasingly popular across southern Africa as tourists can get up close and personal with a lion for a once in a lifetime encounter. But these lion cubs are intensively bred and separated from their mothers at just a few weeks old to be used as photo props and ‘lion walks’ as they get older.

Sadly this is big business with the number of captive-bred lions in South Africa doubling to at least 5,800 between 2005 and 2015.

Next, read why a life entertaining tourists is no life for a lion


“From the moment they are born, lions in tourist parks are destined for a lifetime of cruelty. We know that tourists visit wildlife attractions because they love animals, but many are unaware of the harsh reality they face. By stopping the demand for these popular attractions, we can end the relentless despair faced by captive-bred lions,” said Nicola Beynon, Head of Campaigns – Australia and New Zealand for World Animal Protection.

Unlike conservation programs, commercial lion attractions do not boost wild population numbers as these lions can never be safely release into the wild.

The fate of adult lions who are too large and dangerous to be used for lion walks is one of cruelty. They are either euthanized, kept in increasingly crowded conditions, or sold for profit.

Related: The real cost of a 'tiger selfie'

While lion parks deny supplying captive-bred lions for ‘canned hunting,’ most possess little knowledge of what happens to the lions after they are sold.

In honor of World Lion Day, help protect lions and other wild animals around the world by signing our petition and telling TripAdvisor, one of the world's largest travel websites, to stop profiting from cruel wildlife tourist attractions.

From the moment they are born, lions in tourist parks are destined for a lifetime of cruelty.