What you need to know about playing with lion cubs:
Every year thousands of people visit facilities where they can interact with lion cubs.
Every day, a captive bred lion is killed in a canned hunt.
The truth is that these lions are the product of factory farming. The cubs are taken from their mothers so that she can produce another litter in six months time, as opposed to two years time, if she had the opportunity to raise her own offspring.
These factory farmed cubs are often kept in unsuitable cages with little regard for their social requirements.
For a fee you can play and have your photograph taken with them.
What happens to these human imprinted animals when they have outgrown their usefulness?
Because they are human imprinted and have been deprived of growing up in a natural social group they cannot be rehabilitated or sold to game reserves.
Do these lion cubs benefit from this forced interaction?
How can they!
What possible enjoyment can they derive from being pawed, picked up and being posed all day long, day after day, until they have grown too big?
Are these animals part of breeding programmes that will save lions from extinction?
These inbred, human imprinted and psychologically damaged animals have absolutely no conservation value.
They cannot be rehabilitated into the wild.
They cannot be used to supplement dwindling wild populations.
They can be used as canon fodder in the canned hunting industry.
Every reputable animal welfare organization in the world considers the practice of using lion cubs for human playthings as cruelty.
Lion cubs are by their very nature not gentle animals.
Lion cubs used for petting opportunities are normally trained not to scratch or bite.
How do you think a naturally boisterous animal is trained not to behave naturally?
These cubs are sometimes even drugged!
What about your safety?
Every year many people are injured while interacting with wild animals in petting parks.
Why do you think that they want you to sign an indemnity or have signs stating that you play with these animals at your own risk?
Do they warn you about the possibility of being infected with parasites carried by these animals, some of which can be deadly?
Next time you are presented with the opportunity of playing with a lion cub, first ask;
Where are the cub's mothers?
Why aren't they being raised by their mother?
Where do the cubs come from?
(Often, operators rent lion cubs from bigger breeding farms)
What happens to them when they grow too big?
If they are rehabilitated
Where have they been rehabilitated and is there supporting documentation?
Once they have been rehabilitated, do they have the opportunity to live out their natural lives, or is their rehabilitation just to facilitate their death at the hands of hunters?
If they are sold to game reserves
Which game reserves (by name)?
If they are part of a breeding program
For what purpose?
What happens to surplus animals?
The operators of facilities with lion cubs often have all the answers, but if you start asking these questions you will at some point be faced with a hostile response.
At the end of the day it is up to you how you spend your money.
We urge you to practice responsible tourism.
If you are compelled to play with a lion cub that has been stolen from its mother and is subject to stressful and unnecessary handling day after day, please do so with the knowledge that this is probably why it has been bred and what will happen to it!