"Living with Lions"
WOLMARANSSTAD, SOUTH AFRICA, SEPTEMBER 2012: A captive-bred trophy lion roars at the manager on Buisfontein, a lion breeding farm outside of Wolmaransstad, South Africa, September 31, 2012. These lions are raised to maturity, used for breeding purposes and when old enough will be sold to hunters for lion hunts in South Africa. Seven years is the preferred age. As controversial as the practice is, it is legal under the South African judicial system. Two systems for the hunts exist in two different provinces of South Africa. One practice sees the lion released for a minimal 96 hours into a 3000-hectare area before the hunt can begin. The other practice sees the lion released for 3 months into a minimum 3000-hectare area before it can be hunted. Recent global research points to the fact that hunting and breeding programs are necessary components for the survival of lions into the future. These phenomenons go some way towards lessening pressure on wild lion populations as well as preserving a strong lion DNA base and a future repository for lions for areas where they have been decimated. The hunting industry is also a strong employer in Africa, with over 1.4 million square kilometers given over to hunting concessions. This is a landmass more than 20% higher than that given over to Wildlife Conservation areas. More than 18000 hunters come to Africa every year and the money high-end dangerous game hunting brings to the continent goes some way to preserving the land mass set aside for hunting. The South Africa Predators Breeders association is making strides towards a more regulated industry, with a charter and code of conduct in the works, which is expected to bring a stronger emphasis on ethical practice into play.