Blood Lions. Movie screening at ZEF with Andrew Venter of the Wildlands Conservation Trust, South Africa.

Dr. Andrew Venter is the Managing Director of Wildlands Conservation Trust, South Africa

Blood Lions is a provocative documentary about the fate of lions raised for trophy hunting. The filmmakers offer relentless insights into the system and situation on South African lion farms.

The Global Nature Fund campaign "Lions for Sale" is an official partner of the South African Blood LionsTM initiative and the documentary of the same name. The film, produced by Regulus Vision and Wildlands Conservation Trust, was shown at several international film festivals and has provoked many reactions



Background to the film: The Lions for Sale campaign


Raised for shooting


In South Africa there are about twice as many lions on breeding farms as in the wild. However, these lions are not bred for the protection of species but for tourists, volunteers and hunters. Only a few days after birth, the lion lions are taken away from their mothers. So the lioness quickly returns to a new reproduction cycle and their "orphaned" boys are offered volunteers and tourists to raise, cuddle and play. Once the lions are too old for it, many of them are sold into the hunting industry or processed to bone meal in Traditional Chinese Medicine. For, of course, these hand-raised predators cannot be released, as they do not have the necessary abilities to survive in the wild and would pose a great risk to the rural population by their habituation to humans.

Over 800 of these bred lions are shot annually by trophy hunters. The export of lion skeletons to China has risen by about 500% in recent years and has the risk of an increasing poaching on wild lion populations. The business of these farms is being discussed internationally and is damaging the tourism industry in South Africa - a branch to which every seventh South African is dependent.


What this has to do with Germany and Europe


Volunteers from all over the world, including Germany and Europe, are recruited specifically for raising lion babies with the bottle. Many farms operate under the mantle of species protection, e.g. by claiming that the reared lions will be released later on. The visitors are therefore getting a completely wrong impression of species conservation. The young volunteers pay a lot of money (up to 1,000 euros a week) for their commitment and under the pretense of doing something good. In addition, international individual tourists or travel groups come to these farms to walk lions or play with them. It has been shown that tourists and volunteers have no idea of the commercial structures behind the farms and are convinced that their visit is a good thing.


What the Global Nature Fund wants to achieve with its Lions for Sale campaign


We want to fill this gap in knowledge here in Germany and, in particular, sensitize young adults, as potential volunteers, for the background of such offers. For this, we offer expert talks and provide information flyers and posters.



Further information:


Contact: Lisa Biber-Freudenberg, lfreuden(at) or ZEF PR team, presse.zef(at) phone 0228 736124