After Volunteer Travels Ltd. started asking questions to this project, about why they continue to breed lion cubs for captivity, when they are not releasing any lions yet in their "release stages", the supplier of this project decided to stop the cooperation with Volunteer Travels Ltd. The project no longer receives volunteers from Volunteer Travels Ltd.
It is our aim to always offer sustainable and good projects. It is to this end that our collaboration is terminated.
Walking with Lions
Do you want to walk with lions? Have you seen those capturing images of people cuddling and playing with the "king of the jungle" and want to be in one yourself? You can just imagine the uniqueness of the situation, being face to face with one of Africa's most dangerous animals and playing with them as if it were just a little kitten, a mere house pet! If on top of that, you were told that by walking with the lions or looking after them, you would be an integral part of restoring lion numbers in Africa, it would be the cherry on top! The first thought to mind would probably be…”this is too good to be true” and unfortunately the reality, it is. If you were informed before entering into an area with a lion cub, that your interaction with it would probably result it this beautiful creature remaining in captivity for the rest of its life, would you still go in there to get your photo and five minutes of “glory”? My guess is no...?!
Unfortunately, many of these operations claim to be using the big C word – conservation, which makes all the smoke seem to dissipate in your mind over the matter. However as the saying goes, “Where there is smoke, there is most likely a fire”. Turning out cubs for a photo opportunity is a good revenue earner; together with the great promise of releasing animals back into the wild with no releases, makes for an easy road to take. By claiming conservation, it of course makes everyone feel good about what they are doing, despite that lack of genuine conservation or any success of the goals the project has.
Volunteer Travels together with the consultation of conservation biologist has reviewed a number of its projects that involve interaction with lions. From this we have made a conscious decision to not support projects that breed lions, without running parallel and successful release programmes to prove that breeding is necessary. We further encourage projects to use contraceptives on their lions, in order that we reduce the rate at which lions are being bred in captivity, as we know that those individuals will never have a chance to be free and wild, as they should. Reallocation of focus on education, securing habitats and protecting existing wild lion populations is what is needed and we support those who strive for this goal. Volunteer Travels further encourages volunteers, who are one of the large clients groups fueling this lion breeding industry, to be selective in the animal projects that they choose and think not only about their experience, but what happens to those animals once they leave. Be smart in your decision to “make a change” and make sure the projects you support are genuinely doing just that.