When we look into the eyes of a wild cat, we cannot help but be reminded of our own little feline friends at home, and we are instantly enamored with the likeness. As a result, people all too often exploit wild cats in order to draw in tourists who pay a hefty sum to encounter wild cats.

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Wild cat selfie and petting attractions are popular around the world, charging tourists to hold and bottlefeed wild cat cubs like lions and tigers. What many tourists do not realize, however, is that these adorable cubs were more than likely the result of “speed breeding,” meaning they are taken from their mother immediately after birth so they can be accustomed to being handled by humans and the mothers can become pregnant again as soon as possible.

What happens to these cubs after they “age out” of this type of tourist attraction? While many are sold to private owners who view wild cats as status symbols, others are sold to roadside zoos, while others tragically end up dead with a bullet from a trophy hunt.

According to a petition on Care2, there are a whopping 200 lion farms in South Africa with 6,000-8,000 lions who are being bred for “canned hunts,” more commonly known as trophy hunts. After the cubs are too old to pull in tourists to “care” for “orphaned” babies, they are placed in a fenced-in area where trophy hunters get their pick of which majestic cat to shoot and kill.

With current rates, the petition states that an estimated 20,000 lions will be waiting to be shot and killed in trophy hunts on lion farms by 2020. If you are outraged by this bloody greed-fueled practice, please take a moment to sign the petition addressed to South African President Jacob Zuma, letting him know that the world is watching and disapproves.

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And please share this with your network to increase awareness of this serious issue!

Image Source: Vinodtiwari2608/Wikimedia Commons

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