The welfare of the animal world is our obligation considering the fact as human beings we are depleting all the facilities of Nature.
However, the worst is when we start to breed wild animals for our own purposes whether for entertainment or for other means even if they are medical. Things become worse when such breeding facilities are being abandoned and all the animals are left to starvation. Such thing happened in the North West province, in South Africa where over 100 lions and as well as other animals were abundant. They were left without food in an overcrowded space. Most of the animals were sick, and some of them were close to death.
The story was presented by National Geographic by previously getting a tip about this abandoned facility. The journalist who got the tip immediately contacted the National Council for Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) that strongly pushes South Africa’s animal welfare legislation.
The tragic scene was happening at the spot at Pienika Farm where the animals were in such a poor condition that some of them even lost their fur. 27 lions suffered from mange which is a skin condition caused by parasitic mites. At least three cubs had meningoencephalitis, an inflammation of the brain as a result of which they could not walk. One of the cubs was in such bad condition that it needed to be euthanized at the site.
It is unbelievable for the king of the jungle to be in such a bad shape and only thanks to human mistreat.
The manager of the NSPCA wildlife protection unit, Douglas Wolhuter, who came at the site and inspected the farm, could not believe the state in which these animals were. All of them thrived in dirty and overcrowded areas.
Unfortunately, this is not the only case of predators thriving in captive-breeding facilities in South Africa. In 2015, the documentary Blood Lions showed that there over 6,000-8,000 predators that live in such facilities in South Africa. Ian Michler was the documentary’s protagonist and narrator who revealed the existence of South Africa’s captive lion industry. In fact, he states that there are many of them almost 10,000 where animals live in terrible living conditions.
Why breeding lions in captivity?
The first reason for their existence is the tourism where tourists have a unique opportunity to pet, bottle-feed and take photos with lion cubs. There is also a possibility to walk nearby mature lions making the thrill even more fulfilling. This is one of the reasons, but there are more dreadful ones like for hunting purposes. Michler revealed that most of the lions are being killed by trophy hunters who come in South Africa even from USA.
In the case of Pienika Farm Michler believes that the lions were kept for the lion bone trade. This has been confirmed by a report of National Geographic explaining that the lion bones are an alternative to tiger bones which are commonly used for traditional medicine in Asia. For this purpose, lions do not even need to have their majestic fur as at the end of the day they will for sure be used only for their bones. Therefore, the breeders are keeping them in overcrowded spaces and do not care about their well-being as their lives serve only for this cruel purpose.
The court is in charge if the accused will have to pay with severe punishment like going to jail for this mischief, but according to Michler that is not so much likely to happen. He still believes that this will not for sure stop the lion bone trade. The lions that have survived in the Pienika Farm will remain in the same facility until the trial is over. However, the Humane Society’s Delsing reveals that things are really uncertain in terms of positive court ruling.
The lions that have been kept and raised in the captivity cannot be released in the wild as captivity is their only known way of living. These cats do not have bright future as South Africa does not have enough reputable sanctuaries to properly take care of them.
People are just hoping that the authorities will took some measures and stop this disturbing practice as there are many cases of neglect of lions. The king of the jungle does not deserve this awful treatment.