PHASA approves canned lion hunting, faces backlash

Canned lion hunting

© Pippa Hankinson

In a change of policy after earlier turning its back on the breeding and hunting of captive lions, the Professional Hunters’ Association of South Africa (PHASA) has now approved such practices. During their annual general meeting on 22 November, members voted to approve “the hunting of captive bred lions as a legitimate form of hunting”.

This follows the decision by PHASA in November 2015 to distance itself from canned lion hunting, following a call by the then president Hermann Meyeridricks for a review of the practice after he had viewed the film Blood Lions.

The captive breeding of lions has led to several lucrative and morally questionable industries – including the petting of lion cubs by tourists, tourist walking with adolescent lion, voluntourists caring for such lion cubs and adolescent lions, canned lion hunting and the lion bone trade. The captive bred lions progress through these phases of exploitation, generating significant amounts of revenue, before being killed and the bones sold. This industry often trades under the guise of some form of conservation message, including the false claim that the lions are being bred for release back into the wild.

PHASA’s decision has resulted in widespread anger in the broader hunting industry, with other member associations and prominent members of Phasa publicly distancing themselves.

In reaction, the Operators and Professional Hunting Associations of Africa (OPHAA) has terminated PHASA’s membership with immediate effect, stating “PHASA’s actions completely disregard one of the fundamental concepts of hunting, namely fair-chase, and will, without doubt, jeopardise not only conservation efforts, but also the livelihoods of those who rely on well-managed and ethical hunting practices, far beyond the borders of South Africa. As a result, the majority of OPHAA members have voted to indefinitely suspend PHASA’s membership in OPHAA until further notice”.

The Namibian Professional Hunting Association president Danene van Der Westhuyzen publicly criticised PHASA’s decision on their Facebook page, saying it was ‘shocked and deeply disappointed that PHASA has decided to take the low road by amending its constitution to include a bland and superficial definition of the word ‘ethical’ that now leaves the door wide open to abuse and exploitation by those who clearly have no concern for the future of hunting in Africa, or around the world.”

A number of high profile PHASA members have come out on social media to publicly criticise PHASA, including former president Stuart Dorrington, whose reaction is being widely circulated on Facebook:

“We, as a concerned group of professional hunters, distance ourselves completely from such acceptance and no longer view PHASA as the legitimate mouthpiece for professional hunting in South Africa. A new association will be formed in the very near future and will once again reflect the traditions of responsible, ethical and conservation based hunting in South Africa.” quoted Ian Michler of Blood Lions as saying. “Their stance is a combination of ludicrously archaic thinking that seems to have no ethical or ecological grounding, as well as pure greed. We expect this group to continue with their attempts to justify intensive breeding and killing”.

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  • Alison Heyns

    DESPICABLE!! Shame on PHASA! International animal rights, conservation groups, and tourism organisations should call for a total tourism boycott against South Africa until canned hunting is banned by the SA government!!!!!

    • Simon Espley

      A tourism boycott on SA would not work because its aimed at innocent parties and at the very industry that is the only viable commercial alternative to trophy hunting.

    • John Creager

      Tourism does not provide the money to support the animals. Look at KENYA the wild animals numbers have dropped and continue. to drop.

      • Save Africa

        Oh let’s not go there again!!! Studies have revealed that Trophy Hunting only makes up 1.75% of what tourism does. People would rather see an animal alive in its own habitat then dead.

        As for Kenya, the country receives over 5 million dollars a year from tourism and are very content with that. They have far more respect for animals then any other country whom allows this sick practice of killing for fun. There is no way that any country’s wildlife flourishes because of hunting.. That’s very hard to believe and ridiculous

        I have several friends in Kenya and they are doing very well.. If fact, One of my friends began delivering truck loads of water to dried up water holes..He has been recognized by Japan and South Korea. There was also an American group whom filmed his success. Now after time of getting help from all sorts, creating more “concrete” water holes for keeping from absorbing into the ground. Now the government has just set up a solar system device that helps with the water system Can you say anything positive about countries that allow trophy hunting???

        • John Creager

          You are totally wrong. I have been several time to Africa. Few I mean very few people fly to take photos. 7 pr evey 10 people flying to Africa are hunting.

          Kenya is the proof. A lot fewer animals. Bull crap he is not your friend along with that. YOu cannot haul enough water for all the animals. even though Kenya has only 1 /120th the wild animals of other countries. If you were they you would see the animals dying from lack of water and food.

          Hunters supply water holes through the hunting all over Africa not just kenya. You are absurd in you thinking.

          • Save Africa

            Oh My God..You are one nasty person.. He trucks loads of water every day and has been rewarded for his efforts.. As for Kenya itself the government receives 1.5 million dollars from tourism and I did not hear this from him..
            He as been recognized by several other countries for what he does

          • John Creager

            1.5 million. that is a joke compared to the 200 million in RSA alone. Just from hunting. Look at the people starving in Kenya. Corrupt to the bone. RSA is also corrupt. But the government gettign 1.5 million is a joke when they could be doing a lot better. You are blind to the fact that hunters spend a lot of money that is jobs for a lot of people transportation, fuel, baggage handlers so much more.

        • John Creager

          From USA Today.

          These things don’t come cheap. The $20,000 Daniell
          spent on his last safari to Mozambique is but a fraction of the kind of
          money hunters can shell out for an expedition to bag a lion, elephant,
          rhino, or any of the other big game animals ripe for stalking on the

          these folks, it’s worth it, said Alistair Pole, owner of Zambezi
          Hunters, which escorts hunters on “classic dangerous game safaris” on
          the Save Valley Conservancy in Zimbabwe. An upper-end hunting expedition
          can cost up to $70,000 before all is said and done, Pole said.

          What’s the appeal? To many, it’s the thrill, Pole said.

          the dangerous game hunting. This stuff can fight back,” Pole said,
          adding that two professional hunters in Zimbabwe were killed by Cape
          buffalo — one of Africa’s most unpredictable and dangerous animals —
          in 2012.

          Much of the money spent on the outings
          goes into funding conservation projects without which places like Save
          Valley — and the animals that live there — “would have collapsed,”
          Pole said.

          He cited a $150,000 fund raised through hunting revenue that is used to combat rhino poaching in the area.

          Africa was a primary hunting destination showcased at the Safari Club convention, but it’s far from the only one.

          Hunter are spending more than a little cash.

          • Save Africa

            Tourism based on living animals bring in far more money than hunting, according to “Terese Telicky” a wildlife expert at the Humane Society, . There are far more people going to Africa for tourism than for hunting, and with that, provides people with lively hoods, like working in restaurants, hotels and tourism industry.. This is far more important than this theory that hunting revenues will trickle down to to normal people..

            Taking out an older elephant can cause delinquency in teenage adolescence which can get them in trouble like poor intervention with humans, which can get them killed.

            The population of elephants dropped 30% between 2007-2014..This over turn of the bringing elephants into the U.S., could mean the extinction of these endangered creatures. In Zimbabwe alone lost 10 percent of their elephants

            The loss of any animal means the loss of offspring that could parent a knock to conservation that is far beyond than just taking one animal out of the population..

            The stupidity of thinking that taking out the older animal who has already contributed their gene pool to their species is incorrect..Most animals will continue to mate until they die.

            While trophy hunting does bring in some income to African countries, it only makes up as little as 1.8 percent of tourism revenues. The majority of tourists go to Africa to see African wildlife not to kill it. So if big game hunting continues to deplete wildlife could take down the other 98 percent of Africa’s tourism income.

            Look at, Botswana ban trophy hunting in Jan.of 2014. The 1st year of the ban, the country brought in $344 million from none lethal tourism.

            We don’t care how dangerous wildlife is, you have no business invading their territory and ending their lives. We don’t care about the thrill or adrenal rush that overcomes them when they have just killed an animal. To me it’s nothing pure dominance when they take down a large an dangerous animal for what? Bragging rights and ego maybe a decoration on their walls and or floors. That’s no reason to put a price tag on any animals head.

            You want to make people believe that the money they dish out goes to good causes like conservation and needy people?
            Then why do the people remain destitute and conservation remains the same? Please tell me why the government has no money to create jobs. Don’t you think with all that money they could at least invest in clean water for these people? Do they even have proof where that money goes? No, of Course not. Dump the cash and turn the other way, right? As long as they get to “bag” an animal” Isn’t that the way you described it?

            Hunts do nothing but take out family members which become disoriented and causes stress among the herds or prides.

            I’ll bet you didn’t know that animals feel pain did you? I’ll bet you didn’t’ know that they are capable of shedding visible tears, mourn losses, have emotions like feeling love and compassion, and elephants are know to save the lives of other animals including human beings.

            . For Christ sake, Jericho called out for Cecil for 2 weeks. The people said they never heard such calls.. Please don’t try to explain conservation, combating poaching, locals and or creating jobs. Nothing has changed from square one from trophy hunting and will never change other than pushing them closer to extinction ….

          • Jd Creager

            You are stupidly wrong. I got my facts from the airlines and the Labor Unions. The lies about elephants is what is wrong.

          • Save Africa


          • Jd Creager

            Your fact are lies and false.

          • Save Africa

            prove it..

          • Save Africa

            From a hunter’s mouth. This doesn’t prove anything. There is still no proof that the country outside of the government benefits from that money. I can see that you just like coming into forums like this to aggravate people. So please do not continue to comment because I’m gonna do what the smart people on this forum have been doing with your nonsense and ignore you. Move on…

          • Jd Creager

            You must be the most blind person in the world. No proof, who handles the fuel, flys the airplane, drives the trucks to deliver food to the plane, sells the ticket, I can go on and on an average or 143 partial day jobs for one, just one hunter. Not including the government officials and last but no lest is the jobs of skinners and trackers in Africa, the people in Africa who do the laundry, prepare the food, handle your trip, do the laundry.

            Yes from the mouth of a hunter the truth!

            Lets talk about the many the hunter provides to that African Government!! Thats JOBS more JOBS, those are not provided through photos!!!

            YOu see with a photo shoot, you see the same animals that 1000 others have these animals are like goign to Animal kingdom in Disney.. These semi acclimated animals know they are goign to be fed, the people will feed them. How is that natural?

            It is the same route, time and time again.

            Not so in the hunting world!!!!! In place of hundreds of people fueling a few jobs as in the photo ride and that is all it is is a photo ride, your picture if you ever go will be just like hundreds of others. You are not experiencing Africa.YOu are on an amusement ride. Hundred of people begin taken care of by a few people
            1000 tourist to 7 workers.

            Hunt provides just the opposite.
            1 or 2 hunters for 25 workers.!!! So you dont know crap about Africa, and you certainly dont know crap about economics!

          • John Creager

            You a very dumb for a trust fund baby Save Africa. The hunter knows his stuff. I have backed my with proof and your’s is jabber.

        • Jd Creager

          Do you realize how little 5 million is to a country? A photo safari is nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands of dollars a hunt can bring in.

  • Gail Potgieter

    Good to see the other hunting associations distancing themselves from this ridiculous decision by PHASA. I hope they do start a new hunting association in SA that will become better supported than PHASA.

  • Mary Fagans

    The people at PHASA have to be sick in the head to approve such a thing!! Absolutely disgusting!!

  • John Creager

    It is not canned, it is in large areas. YOu may not see the lion. It may take days. the lion must be released for 90 days.

    The only reason these lions have been bred and raised is for hunting.

    • Save Africa

      These animals are no different than those in the wild. They still feel pain and fear. Doesn’t matter where and for what reasons they are bred. They are still animals that deserve respect and compassion. Just like when a baby whom was created in a test tube. They don’t deserve less respect and treated differently because of the way they were bread..

      • John Creager

        Animals do not mourn their dead, many times they eat them.

        • Save Africa


          • John Creager

            You have not read much, Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.
            They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the
            livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that
            scurry along the ground.”

          • Save Africa

            If you seriously believed in GOD, you would know he wouldn’t have wasted a whole day creating animals just so “we” can rid of them. He intended to say and not how you would twisted it around the way you want to see it, is, that man may hunt to put food on the table. Recreation killing was prohibited

          • Jd Creager

            Hunters have added the value to the animals, without value there is no need for natives in Africa to all them to exist. If there was not value then poachers would not exist. Think about it! I am not playing a game. I am informing someone who is an idiot, and that is you.

          • John Creager

            Again you don’t understand sustained harvest. Sad maybe you should enroll in Texas A&M in Kingsville and study to be a wildlife biologist. Get you some edumacation (YES its phunny)

    • Jo Loveland

      Have you ever actually been to South Africa? Your comments smack of complete ignorance. Of everything. Who’s paying you to be pro canned hunting?

      • John Creager

        Jo up prove if you went to Africa you were in the tourist trap. Yes I have been several times. Just arrived back in the USA yesterday form Mozambique.

  • daktari40

    Lions’ “canned” hunting is conducted in small, properly fenced areas, some with only 100 hectares. The lion is placed in these spaces at intervals of 2 or 3 days, as well as within a few hours of being hunted. They are animals that have lived all
    their life in places with less than 1 hectare. When released, they are completely lost, with no reaction, and usually remain close to where they were left. When the hunter and all his staff arrive, there is no defense reaction, since it has always been a hand fed and thus remains immobile, with no escape attitude. Not only lions but any human animal fed upon being left to be slaughtered, breaks down all confidence, a cowardly act. It’s the same thing that happens when a Big Tusker accustomed to human presence to serve the photographic tourism industry is “sold” for the trophy hunting (as we saw a few months ago in Timbavati). There is no rule that these lions are released for longer periods of time before they are effectively hunted.

    After the Blood Lions movie and the Cecil Lion Hunt, there was a huge retraction for the lion trophy hunting in SA and many Lion breeders for the trophy hunting have spent needs to keep fed the some 8,000 lions that serve this industry, and a huge
    amount of them have languished for lack of food. Edna Molewa recently authorized the annual export of 800 lions (at first the fact that there is an annual quota may be something positive). Disabling this industry that has emerged as a byproduct of the
    success of South African livestock breeding will be very difficult. Imagine about 8,000 lions (this number is a projection, since no one is sure its totality) to be allocated to sanctuaries. The economic cost would be astronomical and impractical,
    and giving conservation value to captive lions who do not know how to live like wild lions is even more problematic. The breeding of wild animals is the industry that has fostered all SA conservation success, and interrupting / making illegal the
    creation of canned lions will destabilize the institutional pillar established in Constitution. The dismantling of the canned hunting of lions needs to be determined through a medium-term policy that could economically contemplate the breeders and give ethical fate to all these lions. There are ways to achieve gradual dismantling, but today there is no political will to intervene in this industry and PHASA is only serving the only branch that can provide a high number of lions for hunting. I ask: where, in the SA there are wild lions fit and good numbers to be used in hunting trophy ??? Almost all the lions trophy hunting practiced in this country is done in private areas, properly fencing. Without the captive lions there are practically no lions to be systematically used for trophy hunting. Beware of so-called “problem lions”, this situational framework is a fairly common means of finding wild lions to be legally sold to hunting clubs. The greater the number of lions raised on these small farms, the less chance there is of stopping hunting for the canned trophy.

    • John Creager

      Blood lions is a crock of crap. The lions by law are released 90 days prior to the hunt and on 3000 acres or larger.

      YOu are spewing crap you know nothing about. You spew lies. Why is that????

      I know the difference because I have been there and know the people you are telling lies about .

      Noone in Zim had a name for a lion that had been ran off from the pride. Yes the so called Cecil only exists is a story full of lies. I know the PH and him Brother in law.

      Yes there is a law in RSA that the lions must be released 90 days. But for you a lie is easier than the truth.

      I also have been to the ranch where the blood lions was filmed. I know the owner!! Do you also know he has other ranches that raise cattle!! I do!!!

      So with these ranch raised lions what is to happen to them now? Over 10,000 lions of not allowed to be hunted will have to be put down.. Why because idiots like you wish to lie about the hunts this is not a damn Disney movie. Lions kill to eat.

      Then you go on about one elephant. Did you know that a herd of elephants cannot be relocated??? No they cannot whole herds were moved across Africa One herd to near Tambor Tanzania and the herd destroyed everything in it path gettign back to Kruger same for the herd that was released near Kang Botswana. the old elephants and the very young died. both herd were finally put down due the death of villagers int he elephants path back t Kruger.

      Do you know Kruger is rated to carry 7000 elephants and right now the population exceeds 14000. So what is going to happen to the habitat in the next few years?

  • Peter Apps

    I achieved a FB first today !. The Professional Hunters Association of South Africa is posting a frame for people who support it to put round their profile pictures. In honor of their recent support for the self abusive practice of canned hunting I commented that they should change their logo to show some fence wire and a can. They took down my comment and blocked me. I suspect that this was not because I hit them in the balls.

  • africaroy

    MWT (Men without testicles) are at it again what a bunch of cowardly arseholes

  • Jd Creager

    South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs estimates trophy hunting generated close to R807 million in 2012 and just over R1 billion in 2013. Even more in recent years
    “US$200 million.

    Photography supplied less than 1/20 the the jobs that hunting does.

  • A real man

    Nobody should refer to them as hunters. They are nothing more than low life cowards looking for a thrill. They are not men. They are simply disillusioned little punks wishing they could be men. What a disgrace to humanity that this can occur.

  • Jd Creager

    I have quoted facts the numbers of animals now verse 20 years ago in all of the African countries, the number of White tail deer in America verse just 30 years ago due to hunters putting their money to Conserve wildlife. Teddy Roosevelt brought the word Conservation into WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT! Ranch lions provide hundreds of jobs across the world, from truck driver to fuel handlers at the airports and more.

  • Jo Loveland

    Actually I lived in South Africa and was on the front lines dealing directly with the fallout from canned hunting. A tourist I was not, and I saw behind the lies the tourist industry – which feeds directly into canned hunting – tells.

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