One of the core reasons behind the creation of THE FLY IN SAFARI COMPANY is to offer responsible, ethical and educational wildlife viewing experiences. It is plain and simple; if you don’t view wildlife in their natural habitat only, then you are doing it wrong with the probability of funding unethical practices. It is our responsibility to educate our guests, and those who read our blog, on what the difference is between ethical and unethical wildlife viewing and experiences and the importance of looking after our Natural World. Unfortunately there are so many operators out there that exploit wildlife for human pleasure and greed, because sadly, these cruel experiences are easy to sell and generate huge profits at the expense of our precious wildlife. These cunning operators even take it a step further by using volunteers and convincing them they are doing their bit for conservation. These poor volunteers pay them thousands of Dollars to do their dirty work while they take the profit, and ultimately have a negative impact on conservation. It is the responsibility of the traveller to educate themselves on this worrying effect of wildlife exploitation we have in Africa, and worldwide. So, let’s get to the point, the intentions of any institution that offers petting of wildlife (lions, cheetahs etc.), riding of elephants or feeding of wild animals are highly questionable and should be avoided at all cost. Ask yourself this; do you think a wild lion would voluntarily be removed from its mother at only a few days after birth and then be released into the wild years later after being domesticated? Do you think an elephant would voluntarily be controlled and intimidated by hooks and chains so you can ride it and take a selfie? Do you think a cheetah will be able to hunt again in the wild after years of being petted by tourists and fed by humans? The answer is no! Once the animal has been fed by hand, petted and removed from its mother at only a few days old by a human, it will never again survive in the wild, ever again! Don’t be fooled by these institutions that are driven by greed. One of the best examples is the canned hunting industry in South Africa. These unethical institutions have designed and formulated a model, well thought out business plan, to tame lion cubs by using volunteers to hand raise the lions, hand feed them and play with them to basically domesticate them as to not be afraid of humans or see them as a threat. This eliminates the dangers one would have to face on a wild hunt as the animal doesn’t have to be tracked in the wilderness, but contained in a small enclosure with nowhere to run. A ‘Canned Hunt’ is also much cheaper than a ‘Wild Hunt’ as you drive up to the lion and kill it easily vs. tracking it for weeks. The hunters are driven directly to the animal, the animal shows no fear as it is tame and the hunter then kills the animal at short range and takes his trophy home, ‘in the can’ as they would say. Some of these institutions will even put out bait to attract the lion into an open area to offer the so called hunter a clear and easy kill. If the hunter had to pay for a hunt, and then spend up to 3 weeks tracking it in the wild, it is no guarantee that he / she will be successful and stand a chance of forfeiting the fees paid for the animal they paid for to hunt. Does this not put the integrity of the hunter into perspective? Isn’t this the stuff cowards are made of? How has this got anything to do with conservation? The lie these ‘canned hunting’ and ‘wildlife petting’ institutions are telling those who do not know better is that they are conserving the species and helping the numbers increase by breeding lions. Currently there are approximately 8 000 – 10 000 lions in captivity on ‘canned hunting’ and ‘petting’ farms in South Africa vs. less than 3000 in the wild. These lions are all bred and domesticated to be hunted in small enclosures and not bred to increase the population or to be released into the wild. They cannot be released back into the wild as they won’t survive as domesticated lions. Even if the South African government came to their senses and outlaw this practise and declare it illegal, these lions have no future. As heartbreaking as it sounds, the reality of it is, when this becomes illegal, these lions won’t be able to survive in the wild as they were not born in the wild and raised by their prides to survive and hunt in the wild. What must one do in this case, kill 8000 lions? The only way to stop these institutions is to not support them. Inform yourself, educate yourself, and question the facilities you visit. Is that Instagram selfie with a lion cub or cheetah really worth it when you consider the bigger picture? Our message to those who plan to visit Africa and experience our precious wildlife species is the following; inform yourself before you book a safari as to where your operator will take you to have wildlife experiences, do research on the reserves you will visit and educate yourself on the difference between ethical and unethical practices. In the end it is quite simple, if there is any human contact involved it’s likely to be unethical. To better inform yourself we recommend supporting http://www.bloodlions.org/. As a responsible pro conservation tour operator ethical wildlife experiences is a big deal for us. Not sure if the institution you plan to visit is one of the good guys, then drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask the questions, we will happily give our advice.