Cubs at a lion breeding farm in South Africa

Commercial captive lion breeding

Travel & tourism

The commercial captive lion breeding industry treats lions as commodities, disregarding the intrinsic value of these wild animals, cruelly exploiting them for financial gain.

The exploitation of lions

The exploitation of lions is not only unethical but also unacceptable and must be addressed with urgency.

Lions all over the world are being exploited for financial gain, entertainment, hunting, and traditional medicine. They are exploited as wildlife entertainment attractions for tourists, either as part of canned trophy hunting or as interactive encounters like cub petting.

Lions in captivity

This cruel exploitation traps lions in inadequate enclosures and subjects them to harsh conditions that don't meet their basic needs and natural instincts.

Lions that are bred in captivity for commercial purposes often experience a multitude of problems, including subpar living conditions, limited space, insufficient nutrition, and the inability to carry out natural behaviours. This can result in both physical and psychological distress for the animals.

Lions are intelligent and sentient creatures who experience fear and pain that we should treat with compassion.

South Africa's commercial captive lion breeding industry

The commercial captive lion breeding industry in South Africa is a cruel and controversial practice that raises serious concerns about animal welfare and public health.

This industry creates a misleading impression that lions are abundant and thriving, as there are more lions in captivity than in the wild. With approximately 8,000-12,000 lions farmed in over 3500 commercial facilities in South Africa, compared to an estimated 3,000 in the wild, the practice diminishes the value of conservation efforts and exists solely for commercial purposes.

To ensure an ethical and sustainable future for its wildlife, the South African government must take a firm and unwavering stance in ending captive lion breeding.

Commercially bred captive lion at poor quality facility

Putting a stop to cruelty

New evidence brings to light cruel and illegal activity at “secret” lion farms throughout South Africa.

Read the full report

Lion breeding FAQ's

Why are lions bred in captivity?

Lions are bred in captivity to be commodified in various ways. These facilities can be public-facing for tourist "experiences" such as petting or walking with lions or lion cubs. There are also closed-to-the-public facilities operating illegally to produce bone and other body parts to be traded for traditional medicine and fashion.

What is canned lion hunting?

In canned or captive hunting facilities, affluent tourists pay a large sum to hunt lions that were bred in captivity and may have become accustomed to human presence.

How many lions are in South Africa?

Around 8,000-10,000 lions are farmed in more than 350 facilities throughout South Africa, while the number of lions in the wild is estimated to be only 3,000.