LIONSROCK – Refuge for victims of the hunting industry
FOUR PAWS operates the big cat sanctuary LIONSROCK in South Africa on a 1,250 hectare site. FOUR PAWS offers lions that were able to be rescued from breeding farms a secure and species appropriate place to live out their lives at LIONSROCK. In the South African big cat sanctuary, there are lions from both breeding and hunting farms; they have been spared trophy gruesome end, to be hung on the wall of a hunter. They are then free to live the remainder of their lives in a safe and natural environment, free from distress and suffering. They will not be sold and may not be bred or hunted.
© FOUR PAWS | Mihai Vasile
The story of our #FOURPAWSgowild ambassadors Mario and Marion
In 2010 FOUR PAWS was able to rescue the lion siblings, Mario and Marion, from a fate in the South African lion industry - literally at the last second. The two lions, male and female born on 28th August 2006, came from a French zoo near Toulouse and were to be sold to a South African purchaser. The zoo, a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), was not aware that this purchaser also bred and organized lion hunting in captivity.
A FOUR PAWS investigation showed that the particular lodge is involved in the canned hunting business. The lodge breeds and sells lions for trophy hunting. Although hunts are not offered on the farm, lion hunting packages can be booked and carried out in other areas. During the investigation the owner offered to organize a canned lion hunt within a few days including a 100% guarantee of a trophy. It was clear to FOUR PAWS that every lion at the lodge was under threat of becoming a victim of canned hunting practices.
FOUR PAWS immediately informed the zoo and the EAZA about the findings. For ethical reasons EAZA opposes canned hunting and animals should not be sold from EAZA members to a buyer where they may become a victim of canned hunting.
FOUR PAWS offered to bring the lions to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary. In response to this new information the zoo stopped the planned sale and Mario and Marion were brought to LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary.
To ensure that no further lions from Toulouse could end up as victims of Canned Hunting, the zoo has made the commitment to FOUR PAWS not to breed any more lions unless they are able to guarantee a secure home for the lions where they will be looked after appropriately.
Sick by hand raising
Many inhabitants of LIONSROCK came into this world at lion breeding farms. Through being raised by hand and sometimes due to inbreeding, some of these lions are suffering from health problems. The lioness Limpi has been suffering from severe arthritis since she was three, the four year old Ghenges has problems with his hips. The lions need medical treatment; in the worst case, only an operation can help.
Trophies via internet
The lion Kimba was born in 2002 in the current area of LIONSROCK, which at the time was not a FOUR PAWS project. The former farm owner offered Kimba in the internet as a hunting trophy. When FOUR PAWS took over the land in 2007, this practice was laid to rest. Now this area is used as a big cats sanctuary; FOUR PAWS is saving the lions from a sad fate as hunting trophies. At LIONSROCK, these animals enjoy the rest of their lives in large, natural enclosures – they are in safety.
You can learn more about the LIONSROCK project here