IAPWA > Our Work > Campaign > Lions

Canned hunting involves captive bred, hand reared lions being released into a fenced enclosure, with no means of escape, so that trophy hunters can kill them. The cycle of a captive bred lion’s life begins with being taken from its mother at around 2 weeks old to be raised by volunteers, many of whom will have no qualifications or experience. Tourists and volunteers are often told the cubs are orphans and will eventually be released into the wild, but this is often untrue. The lionesses are continuously bred to provide cubs for tourists to play with and once they’re too big, they’re trained to go on ‘lion walks’. Once the lions become too big for lion walks, they are sold. The lions are so used to humans by the time they are sold that they are not afraid when confronted with hunters. Once the helpless lion is killed, the hunter pays to take the trophy home.

In 2015, the Claws Out campaign was founded by our Campaign Manager, Beth Jennings following a trip to South Africa prior to joining IAPWA where she volunteered with orphaned lion cubs, believing that these would be released into the wild. She soon discovered that in South Africa, more than 6000 lions languish in over 200 cub breeding parks where they are telling the same lies to volunteers due to many of these cubs being sold into the canned hunting industry when they can no longer be used within the volutourism industry. This is double the number of wild lions in the country.

These captive bred animals are commercially exploited throughout their lives and Beth believes that many volunteers are not aware of the link between the two industries. Through the Claws Out campaign, we aim to roll out an educational programme across the UK with expansion planned to other countries, as well as raising awareness of this link through the above short film, so as animal lovers can choose responsible programmes which will benefit the animals they want to protect. Since starting this campaign, Beth has had numerous articles published in National Newspapers, taken part in many radio interviews and joined a panel of MEP’s, global conservationists and the Director of Blood Lions for a discussion about cub petting and canned hunting in European Parliament. Beth is campaigning tirelessly alongside many other organisations and through your support we aim to remove the ‘con’ from conservation and expose the realities of this horrific industry to protect these lions in urgent need of our help.

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Can you help?

If you find lion cub petting trips advertised on travel websites, gap agencies or even volunteers sharing their past experiences, please contact to help with this campaign.