On October 7th, MSNBC will air “Blood Lions” for the first time in America. This important documentary goes behind the scenes of a shockingly legal industry in Africa; canned lion hunting. This one-hour documentary will take you inside the seldom seen world of this canned hunting industry in South Africa.
The film’s director, Bruce Young, explains “most of the lions exist in appalling conditions, exploited at every stage of their lives. Even the people in South Africa do not know that lions are being bred for the bullet – and that it is totally legal. We want to show the world what is going on, who is involved, the impact on the animals and how much money is being generated by this industry.”
While you may see “lion petting” experiences on many safari itineraries or even photos of your friends petting lions and other big cats on Facebook, this is something you will never see on one of our African safaris. Sadly, these lions are bred for this abhorrent canned lion hunt industry. By supporting these “pet a predator” experiences, you are also supporting canned lion hunting. We urge all travelers to avoid these experiences at all costs.
At Rothschild Safaris, our absolute passion and ultimate reason for being is to help preserve and protect Africa’s wildlife and help travelers experience the magic of seeing these amazing creatures in person.
Instead of supporting the canned lion hunt industry, here are four magical – and responsible – ways to experience lions in Africa.
FOLLOW THE BIG CAT DIARIES IN KENYA’S MASAI MARA
Big Cat Diary, also known as Big Cat Week or Big Cat Live over the past decade, was a long-running nature documentary series on BBC television which follows the lives of African big cats in Kenya’s Masai Mara. Watching this well-produced series before a safari in East Africa is a great way to get excited for what you are about to experience!
The Marsh Pride, who make their home in Kenya’s Masai Mara, are perhaps the most famous lion in Kenya. They have been one of the most successful groups to be filmed for the entire big cat series. The longest-standing member of the pride to be featured on the show was Khali (died in 2004 at the age of 14 years), who was eight years old when Big Cat Diary started in 1996. His relatives remain active in Kenya to this day.
SPOT LION FROM A HIDE IN A PRIVATE CONSERVANCY IN TANZANIA
Tanzania’s Manyara Ranch Conservancy is a private wildlife conservancy teeming with game. Home to a small tented camp, the conservancy recently build a new game viewing hide. This is an area where travelers can literally “hide” safely from wild game, and experience the wildlife from ground level without disturbing them at all.
The new hide at Manyara Ranch has been providing some of the best wildlife action on the Conservancy in recent months. Guests have witnessed many exciting events such as lions stalking zebra and elephants and their babies playing in the dam’s water. While watching such exciting shows guests have also enjoyed refreshing sundowners and delicious canapes, completing the overall game hide viewing experience!
WATCH LION HUNT ELEPHANT IN BOTSWANA
Lions in Africa are without a doubt one of the natural world’s most capable predators. Across Africa, lion hunt a range of antelope and other prey.
However, in Botswana, lion are known to hunt what would be considered unusual prey in other parts of Africa. For example in the Linyanti area of Botswana there is a pride that specializes in hunting hippo while on the Duba Plains of the Okavango Delta there is a pride specializing in buffalo.
And during dry season, the lion of Botswana will even hunt elephant. This phenomenon is unique to the prides of Chobe’s Savuti area, occurring late in the dry season, and certainly an amazing event to witness in person!
TRACK LION ON FOOT IN ZAMBIA
South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is one of the best places in Africa to track lion on foot. This thrilling experience is safe when led by a well-trained safari guide. Watch as your guide interprets animal footprints, scat, and even grass and twigs to determine where lion may be in the area. The thrill of tracking predators on foot is unparalleled.