It is becoming increasingly obvious that what we all campaigned for - a cessation of canned lion hunting - is now paying dividends.
Meaning that cub petting promoters are receiving less clients, that volunteer organizations are now not sending their innocent but well-paying people to South African lion breeding organizations, and that the canned lion breeders are now experiencing financial difficulties.
The reality now is that we have to manage the price of success - many of the 8,000 or so lions bred to provide gun fodder are now in a limbo.
After all, what we fought for was the defeat of a sordid industry, and we must now accept that we will now enter a difficult phase because of our achievements.
But while we might be provided with sad pictures of starving lions on breeding for the bullet farms (as above), we must stand firm. We must do two things:
1. Accept that the realities of finding and funding sanctuaries so that up to 8,000 lions on breeding farms can better live out the remainder their lives, is unlikely to happen
2. Redouble our efforts to make sure no further lions are bred into this nightmare scenario.
South Africa encouraged the canned lion industry. South Africa also allowed captive bred lions to fall in an enormous gap between the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture. No-one was prepared to determine minimum standards of animal care for captive bred lions. The SPCA could not do much as captive bred lions were not listed as domestic animals and therefore no enforceable rules applied. The rest of the world allowed imports of trophy hunted lions delivering the required commercial profits to encourage further growth of the canned hunting breeders
But then, via public revulsion, the profits and acceptance ended, and that is a great achievement.
Now we must all find a way forward to apply pressure to minimise the suffering of the lions already caught in this sordid industry.
There are no easy answers here but stopping any further captive breeding into this industry has to be the first objective.
Picture credit: Blood Lions.org