via press release:
MSNBC PRESENTS “BLOOD LIONS” ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7 AT 10PM ET
A New Documentary that Examines South Africa’s Lucrative Captive Hunting Industry and its Ties to American Hunters.
NEW YORK – September 18, 2015 – Wednesday, October 7 at 10pm ET (and 11pm ET), MSNBC will present the world television premiere of “Blood Lions,” a compelling documentary that takes audiences inside the seldom seen world of the so called “canned hunting” industry in South Africa and the Americans who fuel the burgeoning industry.
The death of a beloved lion named Cecil at the hands of an American hunter and the questions surrounding that hunt in Zimbabwe touched a nerve around the globe. The debate about the ethics of hunting still provokes strong emotions.
“There are about 10,000 lions in South Africa. However, the majority, about 7,000 or so live in captivity on private farms, many in small, crowded enclosures where their social structure has been destroyed. For most, it will be a brutal life as they have been bred for a variety of exploitative revenue streams; first as cubs to be petted and cuddled by tourists, and then later as adults to be killed in canned hunts or slaughtered for the lion bone trade. Despite the fact that none of this has anything to do with conserving lions, it’s all legal in South Africa.” says environmental journalist and safari operator, Ian Michler.
Michler and American hunter, Rick Swazey, capture video inside the breeding farms where lions are bred and raised in confined areas for trophy hunting.
“Our film is an exposé,” says “Blood Lions” director Bruce Young, “most of the lions exist in appalling conditions, exploited at every stage of their lives. Even the people in South Africa do not know that lions are being bred for the bullet – and that it is totally legal. We want to show the world what is going on, who is involved, the impact on the animals and how much money is being generated by this industry”.
Also known as captive bred lion hunting, canned hunts allow hunters to select their lion ahead of time and complete a hunt in a matter of just three days. Canned hunts provide a cheaper, faster, and a surefire way of hunting predatory animals, compare this to wild lion hunts which can last weeks and a hunter might not even see a lion.
Americans are in large part the ones fueling the industry, making up an estimated 60% of the trophy hunters. In the wake of the hunting and death of Cecil the lion, the film reveals a dark dimension to the controversial issue of American trophy hunting in Africa.
The documentary includes the perspective of both proponents of this practice who say that hunting helps preserve Africa’s lion population and conservationists who are quick to dispute that claim.
From MSNBC’s Longform Unit, Michael Rubin, Vice President, Scott Hooker, Senior Executive Producer, Timothy E. Smith, Senior Producer, Director of Production, Carrie Wysocki, Producer Elizabeth Freedman worked on this project. For Regulus Vision and Wildlands, Dr. Andrew Venter was Executive Producer, Pippa Hankinson and Jeremy Nathan, Producers, Bruce Young and Nick Chevallier, Directors.