Blood Lions

South Africa
84 mins


This exposé of commercial exploitation of lions in South Africa is not for the squeamish.

Some 200 factory farms breed lions, removing the cubs from their mothers within days in order to produce another litter quickly. The cubs are then nurtured by paying volunteers from Europe and the U.S., who believe they’re aiding the conservation effort by helping the cubs survive. After the lions become habituated to humans, tourists pay to pose with them for photos. Ultimately, the full-grown animals are sold to hunters, who select their targets in advance online.

“Canned hunting is all about a quick, easy kill for the hunter, and it’s about large profits for the operator,” says Ian Michler, a South African safari operator and journalist who partnered with Blood Lions producer Pippa Hankinson to document the workings of the multi-million-dollar industry. While it is ethical by no imaginable code, this industry is legal under South African law.

Production Team

Nick Chevallier Bruce Young

Festival Screenings

Featured in the 2016 Mountainfilm Festival.