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Posted on Mar 26, 2018 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

Kevin Richardson

Kevin Richardson

A woman was killed by one of the lions that Kevin Richardson was walking.  The lioness ran away from Richardson and two miles down the road came across a woman who was leaving an interview to get in her car and killed her.  Some of the better articles on this tragedy:

Can we now stop hearing people talk about how he has a special bond with lions?  Sheesh.

This article did a good job on the subject of how showing off with big cats is not conservation:

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Kevin Richardson says he loves his cats however, we feel that what he does is not only dangerous but is incredibly irresponsible and selfish. What he does sets a horrible example.

With his WORDS he says big cats are not pets but with his ACTIONS he makes people want to touch and play with big cats, and their babies. People pay more attention to actions than they do words.

When people see facilities or exhibits that pimp cubs out for petting and photo schemes they will pay to participate in those because people like Kevin Richardson make it look like so much fun.  They want people to think they are a “Lion Whisperer” too.

Facilities in Africa that pimp cubs for petting and photos like that sell them to canned hunts when they are too big to be used that way. That means many of those cubs end up suffering the same fate that Cecil Lion did.

In America, and other countries, the bad guys breed a steady stream of big cat cubs to be pimped out for the public to pay to play with. When those cubs get too big to be used like that their futures are pretty bleak.

The cub pay to play and photo schemes are at the very root of so many big cats suffering. Learn more at

Another point to consider is petting big cats and their babies can result in the cats’ death. A tragic story unfolded that is the perfect example of that:

Bobcat Kitten Killed After being petted

In Springfield, Missouri a three week old bobcat kitten was found. The man took her to a rehabber there. The man who brought her to the rehabber ignorantly stuck his hand in her crate. The terrified little bobcat kitten bit him. Six days later, the Missouri Greene County Health Dept. stepped in, took the kitten, killed her, cut off her head, and sent her brain out to be rabies tested. The kitten did not have rabies.

Big Cat Rescue did everything they could to prevent it and many of their fans spoke out in an effort to save the healthy bobcat kitten. BCR offered to pay for the thousands of dollars in rabies shots, if the man would take them instead of having the kitten killed.  Sadly in the end, the precious little kitten lost her life because a human just had to stick his hand in with her because the law stated that ANY time an exotic animal was involved in a bite, they must be killed and tested for rabies.  There is no quarantine time, like in dogs and cats, because no one has ever studied the incubation time of rabies in exotics.

Big Cat Rescue will not risk the lives of the cats there for a selfish desire to touch them. They are also are committed to ending the suffering of big cats and their babies and believe firmly that setting an example by actions, not just by words is important to achieve that goal.

By comparison, Kevin Richardson has failed to speak out in favor of the Big Cat Public Safety Act.

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Posted on Dec 20, 2015 in Abuse, Browse by Name | 0 comments

ALERT Lion Petting Walking

ALERT Lion Petting Walking

ALERT which is an acronym for something like African Lion Environment … (I can’t find it on their outdated website) first came up on our radar in Dec 2015 when we were told that Animal Planet had aired yet another bogus show that claimed to be real conservation but seems to be nothing more than a series long advertisement for a lion pay to play scheme.

The show, called Roaring With Pride, filmed in 2013 – 2014 by Godunnit Productions proclaimed that it was a series that followed the release of captive bred lions back into the wild.

I knew right then it was going to be a lie, since there have been no successful captive breeding programs for big cats who have then been released into the wild.  The only ones you hear of are the entertainment – disguised – as – science shows that air on Animal Planet and History channel.

Anyone who knows anything about rehab and release of wild animals knows that the very first rule is to limit human contact because if big cats feel comfortable around people, then they don’t mind walking up to the school bus stop for a snack, or wandering into barns, farms, etc. That is what gets them (and those in their path) killed.  The idiocy of a show that claims you can:

  1. Breed cubs to use in photo ops and pay to play schemes.
  2. Then you can charge people to walk with them in the wild.
  3. Then you can send them out to live free when they are too dangerous to use as photo props.

is just beyond belief.  The sad part is that people want to believe it, and television caters to the lowest common denominator.

Knowing this place had to be bad, or ill conceived at the best, this is what I’ve learned.

ALERT’s website has a story dated 2012 on its main page, which would indicate that it isn’t updated very often.  See screen shot below.

It used to be that tourism sites would promote these pay to play schemes, but now it is so commonly known that there is no legitimate way to play with cubs and then send them to the wild.  In fact, what the real documentaries and investigators have found is that these cubs usually end up being sold into canned hunts where they are shot in fenced areas for a hefty fee.

Zambia Tourism initially had lion walks as an activity to experience, but after they brought in a reporter to look into ALERT further, they changed their offerings.  Learn more here

It appears that ALERT bought many of their lions from some of the canned hunt facilities.  Most people will say they started off with good intentions, but to our knowledge they haven’t released or even gone passed stage stage 2 of 4 in their release program.  In the show they boast that the lions have been released into the “wild” but then they further describe that as being 400 acres.  That isn’t even one square mile.  It’s no where near enough space for the cats to survive, which is evidenced by the fact that they have to keep rounding up zebra, giraffes and other hoofstock for the cats to kill.

So far no one has caught ALERT selling lions, but they are still breeding, which is ridiculous, given the lack of space, resources or any long term plan for cats who will never be released to the real wild. Using their lions in walks with people ensures that they will never be candidates for release.

The documents at the above link provide evidence from the South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs from 2012 confirming that:

Cara Watts, ‘Lions Manager’ at Lion Encounter Zambia (which is named as ALERT‘s partner in ALERT‘s accounts), was the named importer of 5 lions from Horseback Africa in South Africa, under a CITES export permit dated 11 September 2009, and a further 7 lions from that operation under a CITES export permit dated 15 January 2010;

Richard Leach, General Manager at Lion Encounter Zambia, was the named importer of 7 lions from Boschput Game Farm in South Africa under a CITES export permit dated 23 December 2010 (which lions are listed as having been exported to ALERT Zambia’s address at Melrose Farm);

Andrew Connolly, Director of ALERT, Lion Encounter Zambia and Antelope Park (where ALERT is based in Zimbabwe) was the named importer of 10 lions from Myburgh Farm in South Africa under a CITES export permit dated 3 October 2008. ALERT / LION ENCOUNTER ZAMBIA’S SUPPLIERS.

Horseback Africa are believed to speed breed and exploit captive bred lions to the extent that 2 of those sourced by ALERT and / or Lion Encounter Zambia subsequently had to be put down.

ALERT apparently ‘…expressed concern over the purpose for which this particular operation is breeding lions as well as the welfare conditions of the lions at that operation’ (above Safaritalk link). This, however, would seem to be contradicted by their partner’s imports from that operation.

Boschput Game Farm breed lions for sale and, from their lions for sale page, given that those pictured are all adult males who would be prized as trophies, it seems entirely possible that they could also be selling lions for canned hunts.

Myburgh Farm describes itself as a lion ‘farm’ on its website and is also heavily involved in the exploitation of captive bred lions for cub petting and photo ops.

ALERT, Lion Encounter Zambia and Mukuni Big 5 safaris all worked together to capture an unfortunate, genuinely wild, male lion who happened to stray too near to their operations early in 2012.–-diary-his-capture

Unfortunately it seems this lion, named ‘Dynamite’ who is still the subject of their main web page as of Dec 2015, subsequently died in transit ( from Lion Encounter Zambia.

So, to sum up, what we have here is official Parliamentary evidence of 29 lions sourced by ALERT / Lion Encounter Zambia (same staff, same lions and evidence of transfer of lions and funds between the two in the public domain) from three separate unethical South African lion breeding operations between October 2008 and December 2010. ie from the canned hunting industry.

Lionaid alleges:

I sat down with Andrew (Connolly of Antelope Park/ALERT) in Leeds in 2012 and explained my concerns about the lack of progress and constant production of cubs for the walking programmes. He told me it was their only form of income to bring the lions to the future stages, but acknowledged there was a huge bottleneck.

I can assure you that the lions are not being sold for canned hunts. But the continuous accumulation of lions is worrisome.

So make of this what you will. It may well be that the project started with honest intentions, but it was doomed to fail for a number of reasons. Think about it – they are breeding cubs that are going nowhere.

Assuming 50% males, most of whom will become surplus males even if all the goals of the project were met (they won’t be) what will become of the ‘surplus males’?  Well you surely do not need that spelled out, do you?

Finally, if I have not convinced you, you could approach Dr Luke Hunter at Panthera to obtain a copy of the scientific report that concludes that such a project has no conservation value.”

Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 2.28.59 PM

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Posted on Apr 8, 2012 in News Feed | 0 comments

Aslan the 18 Year Old Lion at Oklahoma City Zoo Dies

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma City Zoo has announced the death of an 18-year-old African lion that had been at the zoo since 2007.

A statement on the zoo’s website says the lion named Aslan died Friday. The zoo said the lion had been diagnosed with an enlarged spleen in January and that a biopsy of the spleen found the animal had small cell lymphoma. The disease is an aggressive form of cancer that is resistant to treatment.

The zoo says the decision to euthanize the lion was made when he became noticeably weak and could no longer stand up.

Aslan came to the Oklahoma City Zoo from the Knoxville Zoo in 2007 and sired four lion cubs that were moved as a group to the El Paso Zoo in January 2010.

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Posted on Oct 3, 2011 in News Feed | 0 comments

Inbreeding for White Lion Cubs in Colombian Circus

Inbreeding for White Lion Cubs in Colombian Circus

Inbreeding for White Lion Cubs in Colombian Circus


A rare white lion cub was born in a Colombian circus in the city of Monteria.

The cub, named Milagros – or ‘Miracles’ – is now one of only 300 white lions left in the world.

Both of Milagro’s parents have normal yellow fur and the cub owes its color to a recessive gene.

A member of the circus said, “the plan is to raise it so that it can grow up and then we’ll see if we can work with it.”

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Posted on Sep 22, 2011 in News Feed | 0 comments

Lion cub smuggling a worrying trend in Somalia

Lion cub smuggling a worrying trend in Somalia

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA—Behind a fortified compound encircled with sandbags near Mogadishu’s airport is a large fenced enclosure that was the unlikely home to a pair of lion cubs rescued from smugglers earlier this year.

The two cubs were discovered aboard a ship at Mogadishu port. They were taken in and cared for by foreign contractors in the war-torn city until last week, when they were finally flown out to an animal sanctuary in South Africa.

Grumpy and Scar, as they were nicknamed, (the former has a bad temper and is prone to nipping overfriendly visitors; the latter has a blemish on her forehead) were found and confiscated by port authorities in late February.

Officials believe they were to be shipped to the home of a wealthy exotic-pet owner in the Arabian Gulf, and their discovery sheds light on the hidden plunder of Somalia’s wildlife and natural resources from the country’s anarchic hinterland.

“Smuggling animals has been a problem since the fall of the Somali state,” said Dr. Osman Gedow Amir, chairman of the Somali Organic Agriculture Development Organization, to GlobalPost.

The German-trained biogeographer researches the destruction wrought on Somalia’s environment by 20 years of war.

“My studies have found smuggling in each region of Somalia, with demand coming from the Gulf States and the Far East,” he said, referring to a paper submitted to the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2006. The Gulf States have the highest demand, he said, but Asia comes in second.

His research shows that more common than the smuggling of lions is the smuggling of large birds such as raptors and bustards, which are like vultures; as well as antelopes. All of them are kept as exotic pets. Demand from Asia is mostly for reptiles, including snakes and chameleons.

Amir estimated that at current prices Grumpy and Scar could be worth around $1,000 each — “This is big business,” he said — and warned that smuggling was decimating populations and could lead to the local disappearance of some endemic species.

It is not just animals that have suffered.

“Huge amounts of charcoal is exported to the Gulf States,” said Amir. “We are destroying our ecosystem.”

A recent report by a team of United Nations investigators monitoring the arms embargo on Somalia described the charcoal trade as “black gold” for Al Shabaab, Somalia’s Islamist insurgent group, which profits from the trade.

“Charcoal is gathered from pastoralist and agricultural areas, mainly from acacia forests in riverine zones between the Juba and Shabelle rivers,” the report said. “Packaged and sold in sacks weighing 23 to 25 kilograms each, charcoal has become the most lucrative source of income for Al Shabaab. An estimated 80 per cent of charcoal produced in Somalia is destined for export.”

The report estimated that Al Shabaab’s annual income from charcoal exported from the port at Kismayo is more than $15 million — the result of deforestation on a massive scale and the destruction of animal (and human) habitat.

Speaking in Mogadishu in August, Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali blamed the famine afflicting his country on lawlessness and “environmental degradation.”

But, as Amir said, “To have wildlife protection you need a state and law enforcement; without that you can do nothing.” Somalia has neither, which makes Grumpy and Scar all the luckier and their tale all the more uplifting.

With their oversized paws, furry ears and dark-spotted tummies and legs, the cubs became an attraction at the camp run by Bancroft Global Development located close to the airport in Mogadishu.

Their 25-by-25 foot enclosure under a copse of shady acacia trees was surrounded by a steel mesh usually used in blast-proof walls; a wooden dog kennel in the corner protected them from occasional tropical downpours.

Their keeper, who did not want to be named, was a South African dog handler working with Bancroft’s team of security advisors in Mogadishu. Last week, he escorted his leonine charges as far as Uganda from where they were flown on to South Africa.

His hands and forearms are covered in nicks and scratches from when the lions got cross — usually Grumpy was to blame, he said — or just overly exuberant in their play.

“They just fell into our hands,” he told GlobalPost. “No one else had the capacity to look after them, so we took them on. We’ve been muddling through feeding them and giving antibiotics to keep them healthy. It’s not the same thing as looking after dogs and cats.”

When they first arrived, the lion cubs were as small as kittens, and were fed on a mixture of eggs, meat and milk. They have grown fast. By the end of their stay in Mogadishu they were eating a whole goat every few days.

Recently a vet was flown in from Uganda to give the animals a medical check-up, take blood samples, give vaccinations and microchip them in preparation for their expected “export” to the South African game reserve.

Residents and guests at Bancroft’s Mogadishu compound said they would miss the cubs, but there is little doubt they will have happier — and safer — lives outside Somalia.

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