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Lion Rescue from Breeding / Canned Hunting Farms

Combatting Wildlife Trafficking in Turkey
Pangolin Rescue. Wet-markets and Pandemics.
A canned hunt is a trophy hunt which is not “fair chase”; it has been made too easy for the hunter. In some examples, animals have been kept in a confined area, such as in a fenced-in area, increasing the likelihood of the hunter obtaining a kill. In most cases the lions are kept in tiny enclosures, are confined to horrible places, with limited or no food and extreme stress and with no hygienic and veterinary care. A “hunter” can then choose the lions he wants to kill and conduct the killings in the easiest way, even sitting from his vehicle. Animals do not stand any chance. Such facilities even put male lions in small enclosures for them to fight each other, so lions can have scars on their faces and the trophy can seem to come from a total wild lion. 
Canned hunting is a fast-growing business in South Africa, where thousands of lions are being bred on more than 160 farms to be shot by wealthy foreign trophy-hunters. There are now more lions held in captivity (upwards of 5,000) in the country than live wild (about 2,000).
Wild@Life e.V. Is dedicated to rescue such lions from such facilities with the local partners. 
During November 2019, our team has reached South Africa to rescue 22 lions from one of these farms. 
The team was overwhelmed seeing 10 lions kept in a totally secluded and closed shed with no light nor grass.
We had to fight hard for the lives of these lions. But dedication and passion made this work successful. For this rescue a total of 5000km has been done on road, 9.5 hours was spent to take 10 lions out of the shed, paperwork with the Ministry for import and export was issued with a lot of pressure from us, and we finally got a day set for the big day. 
The team was ready to first rescue the 10 lions kept in the shed. Entering and darting was a big problem as the building had only one door and no other entrance. We have decided to drive in with the team and dart the animals inside. Wild@Life was in with the local team.
And darting has begun. Was an extra load of work and took a long time to calm the lions after each darting. These lions had no access to outside nor any light and grass, so their stress levels were much higher than usual. We were committed to take them out! So we did… one by one!
 We worked non stop to move the lions to the transport trailer, which we drove back to the sanctuary, where they will learn to be lions again. 
On our way out we met a lonely lion. He was not good or handsome enough to be sold as a trophy lion, his tale was crooked. He was lion number 22 in the registry. He was likely to be sold for the Asian bone trade to become part of a local medicine. We couldn’t let this happen. So we made a deal to secure the funds when back to Germany, Wild@Life HeadQuarters. We named him Georges.
And so we did! We will not let him behind. He will join the sanctuary once the semi wild enclosures will be ready. He will join the others and he will learn to be a lion again! With his own pride.
Below are some of the lions we rescued from the shed, who now live in the sanctuary, with proper trees and surroundings and most importantly: together!

Mission 2

During Mission 1, Wild at Life e.V. successfully rescued 10 lions destined for the bullet in South Africa.  Whilst leaving we noticed a lonely lion with a crooked tail, named him Georges. We vowed to come back to rescue him before he too ended up as a trophy hunt and later his bones sent to Asia to be used in traditional but ‘bogus’ Medicines.

Our successful rescue was subsequently published in many media coverages, articles and was also featured on, The Dodo.

After the successful campaign to take the vital support we needed to rescue Georges, we found ourselves in the midst of the  global pandemic Covid-19 and our team could not travel to take him to safety. On top of the Covid situation, the Sanctuary he was going to did not make the necessary plans to rescue him on their end. This was hidden from us. So, we had to find a new ethical placement for him, which we have done. Whilst preparing Georges Permits we became aware of 3 more lioness in dire need. Wild@Life will rescue them all, leaving no one behind. 

We need your help to secure the additional 3 Lionesses successful rescues and relocation. If we don’t succeed with our target, their future will end up in The Asian Bone Trade.

We have successfully rescued Georges, Julie, Eva and Elma from a horrific lion farm in South Africa.

On Tuesday the 27th May, 2021 our expert team lead by Wild at Life Founder, Asli Han Gedik arrived into South Africa to rescue Georges, Julie, Eva and Elma.

Watch the full rescue video:

Lonesome and lugubrious Georges lived day in – day out – inside a barren enclosure for 4 long painful years. The only company he had, was a cement ring that would offer some protection against the South African heat whilst he awaited his imminent slaughter.

The lion farmers were waiting for his mane to grow so he would look handsome enough for someone to pay up to an estimated sum of £10,000 to shoot him in an enclosed area from which there was no escape.

But Georges was born with a fault; his tail was crooked and he was therefore discarded as a future trophy’s, instead he was to be slaughtered just for his bones!

The lion bone trade is a lucrative and legal stream for farmers in South Africa and has come about as an alternative to tiger bones for use in Traditional but Bogus Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is a burgeoning component to wildlife trade and in the year 2018, the DEA awarded a quota of 1 500 lion carcasses for export a year!

On the morning of the 27th May  —  as dawn-broke — Wild at Life and their Veterinarian entered the Lion farm, they then successfully darted(Sedated) Georges, Eva, Elma and Julie inside their stark enclosures.

Once sedated, the lions were all then carefully lifted out one-by-one by our team of six and placed onto their  waiting transport.

After a morning of strenuous work, our expert team and veterinarian had managed to successfully place all lions into their transport for the journey ahead to freedom.

Our big Cat veterinarian proceeded to reverse the sedative and gave an immune booster too.

The team then took two trailer; a 5 hour drive. One trailer held Georges and Julie, the other one driving, Lionesses Elma and Eva.


We made made frequent stops on roadside to check up on their well-being.

They all slept nicely.

Finally arriving at the Sanctuary, Julie was the first out of the trailer.

Julie is first to explore —

Julie leaving the trailer – 

The first thing she did  was to climb a tree – something she had never touched before.

The pride’s new sanctuary features plenty of features that would be found in their natural habitat, tall grass to relax in and an array of Acacia, Jackalberry and Marula trees to offer shade and enrichment.  As lions possess interdigital glands, they are use the trees to transmit a scent when flexing their toes, which aids in territorial marking and other types of olfactory messaging to one another.

Georges, Julie, Elma and Eva will now live as part of a pride for the first time in their lives free from the threat of a bullet.

Georges, Eva, Elma and Julie symbols of hope in the campaign against lion farming.

There are currently around 7,000 captive lions held in horrendous lion farms across South Africa right now, they are all constantly bred until the day they will be shot for a trophy.

We do not breed our rescued lions, because we know doing so contributes to the problem that we trying to solve.

The lions that we rescue from these notorious farms, can never live in the wild, they would not survive. It also takes up valuable space that could be occupied by another rescued animal and depletes our already limited resources to rescue others in need.

George, Eva, Elma and Julie are symbols of hope in our campaign against canned lion farms.

Four more lions saved, we will continue until there is no-more lions left in horrific farms to save.

Our work isn’t over yet. Many still await for help and we can’t do this without you.
If you want to be a part of the work to end canned hunting lion business, please support us:

Please support Wild@Life so the vital projects can be successfully implemented.

Together we can do this! 

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Thank you for believing in us.

Asli Han Gedik

Wild@Life e.V.