15 October 2010

'White Lion' film highlights canned trophy hunting in South Africa

A new film called “White Lion,” opening today in select U.S cities, highlights the practice of canned lion hunting in South Africa. The fictional film is an account of a rare white lion who escapes the fate that befalls an estimated 1000 South African lions each year.

The film’s producer, Kevin Richardson hopes the film will help put a stop to this practice in which lions that are bred in captivity are set loose in enclosed areas where hunters gun them down. Foreign tourists pay up to $40,000 to shoot a big cat and many of the hunters are from the United States.

"I just can't understand how anyone would want to shoot a lion that is clearly confined to a finite space with absolutely no hope in hell of ever escaping the so-called hunter," said Richardson. "Canned lion hunting, in my opinion, is likened to fishing with dynamite in a pond and then calling yourself a fisherman.”

Trophy hunting is a lucrative business worth $91.2 million a year, according to the Professional Hunters Association of South Africa. The government promotes hunting and sells permits allowing hunters to kill rhinos, elephants and giraffes.

Kevin Richardson is an animal behaviorist and a self taught “lion whisperer.” He calls himself an ambassador of lions, and runs a conservation park in Broederstroom, South Africa.

View the 'White Lion' trailer.

Robin Lawless | @robmlaw
Robin lives in NYC with her cat Maggie where she follows a vegetarian lifestyle, practices yoga, and volunteers at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Follow Robin on Facebook

Photo credit: whitelionthemovie.com