Louis Theroux's African Hunting Holiday

You can watch this interesting docu on line.


  • I am well aware of who Louis Theroux is and, as for me, I think that this "sport" is disgusting, unfair and totally unacceptable. These "canned hunts" are barbaric - the animals never even have a chance. Last year, on my last trip to Africa, I so enjoyed walking with several young lions in the bush and find it heartbreaking to think this so called "sport" would be their fate - anything for money. I know there are arguments that support these "canned hunts", however, I would just like to see it outlawed. I find it so very sad.
  • blackmagic, I am on board with you concerning what people think of these "hunting" camps. I am a hunter, but would never think of having someone set up a live target for me to shoot like I was plinking tin cans. Besides, I only hunt to use the game as food, not as trophies. In fact, I just had some very tasty venison last night for dinner. I didn't hunt it, but a friend did and shared it with me. I had no problem consuming it.

    I know Africa has a long history of hunting animals, some legitimate; some not. Several well known celebrities were hunters there. Some was actual hunting and others just glorified target practice. The unfortunate thing in this is that when lions are allowed to interact with people, particularly at a young age, it means they are probably going to be put into some sort of captive environment for the rest of their lives....zoos, hunting camps, private reserves, etc. Some of those situations are worthwhile. For example, zoos are very involved in breeding programs...both in captive and free environments.

    There are two ways of dealing with this. First, and I think most effective, not go to the "petting or walking parks." That is "making a statement with your feet." Second, is the one most people advocate....government action, which is usually fraught with corruption and lack of enforcement. I believe that "buying with our feet" is the most effective economic response to "bad" things. Obviously, definitions of "bad" vary and when enough people don't do it, the cry is for government action. Kind of a double edged sword, I guess.

    Well, enough political rambling, but I hope the "60 Minutes" report is full of misrepresentations, as it usually is, and that the animals are safe and not subject to the hunting farms. I am sure their information is verifiable through internet searches that are credible (I am not going to go into which "animal rights" groups I think are credible--in my mind that would be very short list). However, I am not comfortable that my "hopes" are going to be verified. I, for one, will not partake in any tour where lions are "walked with," no matter if they are Tauck sponsored, or not, unless I am completely assured of the practices of how the cubs are being taken care of when they mature.
  • edited December 2014
    Folks, through the power of the Internet, I searched using Tauck text in the Tauck Botswana, SA, Zambia tour description (edit: I used text from Tauck's caption in the photo gallery of this tour) and was led to this website - African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program which describes quite an extensive 4 stage program to raise and re/introduce lions into the wild. Adult lions that were rescued or raised in captivity are used as breeding stock. The goal is to help the species and increase their numbers in the wild. But only the offspring of these lions will be fully reintroduced. Because many of the adult lions have had previous interactions with humans which can cause numerous problems if released, according to what I read, they are used for breeding then eventually released into a large, but controlled areas where there is no chance of human contact. It all seems legitimate and well organized.

    During Stage I, after spending three weeks with their mother, the cubs are removed and are then raised by and bond with special handlers. The cubs are eventually introduced to other cubs and handlers ("the pride") and led on walks. According to the website, "Tourists are permitted to join the lion walks when the cubs are between six and eighteen months old and again are treated by the lions as dominant members of the pride. In allowing this participation the program raises awareness and generates funding to operate stage one of the program, as well as helping to raise finance for the later release stages." It also states, "Regular inspections are conducted by the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Management Authority and the Zambia Wildlife Authority to ensure standards are maintained." In follow-on stages the lions are trained to hunt and prepared for release into the wild. I haven't read past stage I so I don't know how the "special handlers" fit into all this and how the lions handle release into the wild.

    Major funding and direction for these programs comes from an organization called, ALERT, the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust (based in the UK and US?). I haven't researched them yet.

    It is interesting reading if you have the time.
  • Thanks for the information, AlanS. I appreciate your labor. I will follow up and read the information. Nice job, sir.
  • A final comment.

    I finally did a little more research and feel that ALERT(the African Lion & Environmental Research Trust) and their African Lion Rehabilitation & Release into the Wild Program are not only legit, but most worthy of support from Tauck and Tauck travelers.

    Their website and Facebook page detail their past and current efforts and provide an opportunity where you can donate to their cause if you choose.

    Now I need to convince my wife to follow up our K&T safari with the Botswana, SA, Zambia trip!
  • Alan - They have the same rehabilitation and release into the wild program in Zimbabwe, which I did some research on at the time and was told it was legit. I went there last September when I was on the Tauck tour Elegant Adventure. Tauck didn't have it on the agenda for that trip, but it is very easy to arrange it privately. I would find it very distressing if my walking with these lions could end up hurting them in the end. That's why I'm so sickened by these "canned hunts". I have grown to love Africa, the wildlife and the people more than I ever imagined I would and it is horrifying when I read that in 20 years there won't be any lions left in Africa. What a thought! Can you just imagine Africa without any lions? I certainly can't. As I said, the current abuse of animal rights is very distressing and makes me so very angry. I could go on and on but I won't - I think you know where I'm coming from.

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