Captive Wildlife Watchdog has been writing articles about Dean Schneider since, well, since before he ever became a household name. Our first addressment of Dean Schneider occurred before he even possessed lions. We have continued to document his meteoric rise to stardom as a fresh-faced animal exploiter ‘rescuer’ who used his considerable wealth ‘gave up his considerable wealth’ to buy land and animals so that he could ‘rescue animals’ in South Africa and start his own private zoo ‘sanctuary’ called Hakuna Mipaka.
Captive Wildlife Watchdog knew, before Schneider became a star with nearly 7 million Instagram followers, that what Schneider was doing with his animals was exploitive, and we endeavoured from the moment he began promoting himself, to educate the public about this fact. Until now, at the end of April 2020, approximately 3-4 years after we first began discussing Schneider, CWW has been the only conservation group to even acknowledge his existence, much less question it.
No media outlets, or other conservation groups or foundations followed our lead when we began pointing out that what Schneider was trying to do was unethical. No one joined in the discussion about how falsely presenting oneself as Schneider was doing, how interacting with captive wild animals, and gaining fans through those interactions, while feeding them incorrect, or fractured information, was exploitive, and sent the wrong message to the public. Instead, viral articles and videos presenting falsely praising narratives about Dean Schneider–whose PR personnel were actually responsible for–ran rampant, and within only a few months’ time, Schneider went from a few hundred followers and fans, to several million. He now has over seven million fans and growing on Instagram alone.
Making it explicitly clear that Captive Wildlife Watchdog has been the sole voice discussing Dean Schneider, and calling out his exploitation isn’t about our ego, it’s about respecting the fact that we made every attempt to prevent Schneider from ever becoming the entity he now is.
CWW has tried, over the years, to encourage even larger, and more well-known entities to join us in discussing the exploiters we address on our own pages. CWW has tried, over the years, to explain to other conservation entities that they cannot “stay in their lane” and focus only on a micro-specific area and expect the public to grasp larger, more abstract concepts by extrapolation. That’s not how lay-folk with only a superficial understanding of conservation and captive wildlife situations absorb, and retain information. Humans in general do not make choices based in objectivity, but rather, on emotional attachment.
We always encourage our readers to go out and do their own research on a subject, rather than just taking CWW’s word for something. We always encourage our readers to go out and do their own research on a subject, rather than just taking CWW’s word for something. But when CWW is the only group discussing that something, or subject, it makes it impossible for readers who don’t have a deeper understanding of conservation to make an informed decision about whether or not an entity or group is ethical.
Similarly, when conservation groups suddenly comment on someone the public at large admires, without providing the historical context of issues documented by others (like CWW) it’s extremely easy for the public to dismiss any negative remarks or posts as simply “jumping on the bandwagon for attention” and subsequently disregard that information as inaccurate. And when other pages, like the EMS Foundation share links that do lead directly to CWW (we thank you for that) they simultaneously devalue that direct sharing of information when they accompany it with text like “It’s time to examine some of the Big Cat Saviour personalities in South Africa.” As if doing that is a novel suggestion, rather than the very thing CWW has been actively and continually campaigning for all this time.
In the last few days, Dean Schneider has made headlines, after a video showing him punching one of his lions went viral. CWW actually posted this video back on February 23. It subsequently received 40 shares, and almost 150 comments, but no greater public acknowledgement. This video wasn’t the first time Schneider has struck his animals. CWW has posted about his actions and training methods numerous times. It’s not uncommon for Schneider to swat and smack his lions (more on such methods later) and it’s not something he’s ever hidden. But now that the international media has obtained the story, and it’s being circulated widely (without any credit offered to Captive Wildlife Watchdog, for having repeatedly reported on animal exploitation, abuse, and issues regarding Schneider for the last few years) suddenly now others are weighing in with statements on Schneider as a ‘conservationist’.
Even Blood Lions has now made official posts addressing Schneider, stating that:
“Dean Schneider and similar “influencers” set an extremely poor example by perpetuating captive wildlife interactions, especially after SATSA have identified such activities as “unacceptable”.
There is no reason other than for veterinary purposes to interact with captive wildlife. This therefore begs the question of why such influencers insist on wildlife interactions, other than for self-interest and financial gain.
This individual and the facility are involved in nothing other than the commercial, and as seen in the clip, at times brutal, exploitation of wildlife. Centred on a selfish lifestyle choice, the facility, and so many others involved in similar activities, play no conservation or scientific role; they should be phased out.
Although Hakuna Mipaka’s website states that they don’t breed, Schneider has recently allowed one of his lionesses to become pregnant. Captive breeding however serves no conservation value and only adds to the already massive and problematic captive lion population in South Africa, which is estimated at 8000 – 12000. This is 3-4 times as many lions as in the wild.”
Thank you, Blood Lions, for repeating what CWW has been saying for years. Because we greatly respect BL, we have tagged them repeatedly in our past posts regarding exploiters like Schneider, Richardson, and others in SA who capitalize on captive bred lions for interactions. For example, Richardson’s purchase of six captive bred cubs from Ukutula Lion Farm, and his training of children to work with them in order to make a feature length film. Despite putting money directly back into the captive lion breeding industry, Richardson’s purchase of the cubs (now nearly adults) has been widely viewed by his fans as “rescuing” them, and the movie he made using those captive bred cubs has been called by supporters a huge effort in “lion conservation”. Yet Blood Lions has never publicly addressed Richardson’s actions, nor have they ever addressed Schneider’s until now. Perhaps if they had, Schneider would never have made it this far, with a huge cushion of 7 million fans to catch him even in the midst of accusations of animal abuse.
And even after posting such a straightforward statement, BL has responded to questions asking if they no longer support Richardson now, with the circumspect response:
“Blood Lions has never expressed support for nor condoned Kevin Richardson.”
Perhaps BL has never publicly advertised or endorsed Richardson, certainly not that we’ve ever seen. However, very often what a foundation doesn’t say or do speaks just as loudly as what they do say or do. BL has never suggested that Richardson is anything but the lion conservation hero millions view him to be, so why, when Richardson has repeatedly supported and referenced Blood Lions, would followers not presume that BL likewise endorses Richardson?
CWW was also recently tagged in a comment on a post in Volunteers in Africa Beware. Our long time readers might recall that ViAB is not a fan of CWW, and has attacked us several times because of our criticism of Kevin Richardson. Now ViAB has created a section devoted to Dean Schneider, and have made posts in regard to him. In response to the commenter who tagged CWW and expressed relief that ViAB had finally seen the light in regard to Schneider, ViAB responded that since Schneider didn’t take volunteers they’d been busy dealing with exploiters who did take volunteers. What ViAB isn’t acknowledging is the fact that take volunteers. What ViAB isn’t acknowledging is the fact that Schneider did, in fact, accept volunteers. He even advertised for them actively for the first two years or so he was around. And Captive Wildlife Watchdog reported on this fact repeatedly. It was only in response to CWW’s steady pressure that Schneider stopped taking volunteers in order to make himself a non-profit’ in an attempt to get CWW off his back.
We’d also like to note, that both these well respected, and well known groups have chosen to share mainstream media articles created amidst the recent viral stir which, aside from referencing the video of Schneider punching one of his lions, We’d also like to note, that both these well respected, and well known groups have chosen to share mainstream media articles created amidst the recent viral stir which, aside from referencing the video of Schneider punching one of his lions, contain numerous counts of false information the sharing of which only serves to further public confusion and actually makes Schneider more likable and relatable.
It would have been more informative for readers (and respectful to us as the only established conservation page addressing these exploiters) if these other pages had linked to CWW where there is a large amount of information devoted to Schneider. Again, this is not about trying to get credit, or a pat on the back, it’s about respect. CWW has tried repeatedly to engage others like Blood Lions in discussing exploiters who directly interact with their captive big cats, like Dean Schneider, and we have consistently and largely been brushed aside, and ignored. Now everything CWW has been devoted to reporting on, and educating the public about has become a front-and-centre topic–in no small part because CWW has been devoted to reporting on it, and we shared the video that started all of this back in February.
In focusing solely on Schneider’s physical strike on his lions, the mainstream media, and those conservation groups sharing the limited, and erroneous articles produced by it, are missing the In focusing solely on Schneider’s physical strike on his lions, the mainstream media, and those conservation groups sharing the limited, and erroneous articles produced by it, are missing the bigger picture, and picture, and bigger discussion, which must take place in order to achieve true change. If people didn’t idolize those who interact with captive wildlife, specifically in this case lions and big cats, then Schneider would never have possessed a lion to hit in the first place.
These CONservationists, who perpetuate big cat interactions, such as Kevin Richardson, Schneider, and Serio, along with others, all parrot some variation of the phrase “People protect what they love”. They profess to be spreading awareness and education by making the public fall in love with the captive wild animals they interact with.
But this ideology is fundamentally flawed from birth, for several reasons. It both establishes and reinforces the premise that humans literally aren’t capable of caring for, or conserving something they aren’t personally enamoured of. If the same rationale is applied to other areas, this would indicate that humans will not care for starving or sick people or animals they don’t have a personal attachment to, will not fund efforts to salvage artwork they don’t personally admire, will not partake in supporting relief aid to an area of the world they don’t personally care about, and so on and so forth. Not only is the proposition grossly disheartening, and completely inaccurate, but it also orients the entire ideology around how humans feel, making human wants and human needs the primary precondition which must be met and fulfilled by everything else, This then commodifies the captive wildlife involved as merely an asset to be used in achieving the goal of addressing human wants and human needs.
To this end, captive big cats held in naturalistic settings are substituted for wild big cats in actual wild settings, accompanied by rhetoric claiming that by loving and embracing these captive bred, captive held big cats, the general public will be able to conserve wild members of the same species. Captive bred lions have, effectively, become a beloved surrogate for the real deal, To this end, captive big cats held in naturalistic settings are substituted for wild big cats in actual wild settings, accompanied by rhetoric claiming that by loving and embracing these captive bred, captive held big cats, the general public will be able to conserve wild members of the same species. Captive bred lions have, effectively, become a beloved surrogate for the real deal, wild lions. And the continued breeding of captive lions, the continued use of them in interactions with their caretakers, represents a physical manifestation of the choice to embrace captive lions over, and instead of, wild lions. For every captive lion bred, ‘rescued’ and cared for, time, money, public devotion, effort, resources, etc. are diverted from the protection, and conservation of established wild lion populations, and the ever-shrinking wild habituate they live in. This is compounded by adored ‘heroes’ like Richardson, and Schneider justifying their purchase of captive bred lions as ethical rescues, worthy of supporting.
Billions of dollars are spent every year on tourism and ‘conservation’ which is focused solely on captive bred, captive held lions, while existing wild populations are poached, starved, and killed in human/lion conflicts. Scientific studies on wild lion populations struggle to gain funding, while studies attached to captive lions (like those bred by LionALERT and Ukutula) are readily funded and then used to support the breeding of more captive lions, as well as misinforming the public that it will all go to saving wild lions in wild spaces.
To use an old American phrase which was historically used in crass reference to women having sex before marriage “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Why spend thousands of dollars on an African safari with no guarantee of seeing actual wild lions in wild spaces, even in the handful of ‘hotspots’ which are highly trafficked, when you can go to a managed reserve and see captive bred lions in a large natural-but-fenced setting? Why spend years obtaining grants and monetary backing for scientific research on wild lions when your subjects could be killed by poachers, or farmers in conflicts, throwing your entire study off when you can just study captive lions in naturalistic captive settings and then extrapolate your data to be applied to wild lions? Captive bred, captive held lions (including those living on game reserves, not to be confused with nature reserves) have become a billion dollar industry of commodity, while wild lions in wild spaces have become ageing artefacts, fast fading from relevancy.
If we want to live in a world where wild lions still exist in wild spaces we absolutely must change the ideology that captive bred lions in captive situations can somehow fix the plight of wild lions in wild situations. The two are entirely separate issues. Interacting with captive lions cannot, and will not, save wild lions. This fact has been proven by the continued decline of wild lions in association with the continued rise in captive lions. It’s no longer open for debate. Captive lions are growing, and wild lions are dying.
As long as interacting with captive lions is excused and accepted, this trend will continue. It simply is not possible to play favourites, when it comes to interacting with captive big cats, and excuse the behaviour when carried out by one party while criticizing it from another.
Per Blood Lions’ recent post regarding Dean Schneider:
“Similar “influencers” set an extremely poor example by perpetuating captive wildlife interactions, especially after SATSA have identified such activities as “unacceptable”.
There is no reason other than for veterinary purposes to interact with captive wildlife. This therefore begs the question of why such influencers insist on wildlife interactions, other than for self-interest and financial gain.
This individual and the facility are involved in nothing other than the commercial, and as seen in the clip, at times brutal, exploitation of wildlife. Centred on a selfish lifestyle choice, the facility, and so many others involved in similar activities, play no conservation or scientific role; they should be phased out.”
Everything in this statement is 100% accurate.
Which means that Blood Lions should, ethically speaking, specifically name the “similar influencers” they’re referencing, in order to better education the public as to who they are. For example, Kevin Richardson. BL is a South Africa group, and Richardson is the preeminent influencer engaging in wildlife interactions which have been identified by SATSA as ‘unacceptable”. Let’s call a spade a spade here, shall we? It is more than beyond time for those who wish to actually end the perpetuation of captive wildlife interaction to bluntly and publicly make a stand against those promoting it, like Kevin Richardson.
If, indeed, interacting with captive big cats is done for “self-interest and financial gain” and is an example of a “selfish lifestyle choice” and that such facilities “play no conservation or scientific role; they should be phased out.” it would have been extremely beneficial for Blood Lions to public say so in a forthright manner when Kevin Richardson oversaw the purchase of six lions cubs from Ukutula Lion Farm, and then proceeded to spend three years training children to interact with them while making a feature length film about interacting with captive lions. Yet here we are, five years on, a young woman killed by one of those six captive bred, lions, trained to interact with a different young woman, and Richardson is comfortably ensconced with a new young pride of lions to continue interacting with for the next couple of decades, having faced no real backlash aside from that offered by CWW.
And what will happen after this media splash regarding Dean Schneider has passed? Will Blood Lions, and ViAB continue to discuss Schneider? Or will their vitally important voices disappear as quickly as they showed up?
Yes, CWW is being hard on this matter. Yes, CWW is being hard on this matter. Yes, CWW is being hard on this matter. We desperately need other conservation groups to stop playing politics and start educating the public in a whole-picture approach. We need them to stop turning a blind eye to big name, beloved, ‘experts’ and entities who do the very same thing people like Dean Schneider are doing. The public–as evidenced by their adoration of these figures–does not, and will not, see a difference between them because. We need them to stop turning a blind eye to big name, beloved, ‘experts’ and entities who do the very same thing people like Dean Schneider are doing. The public–as evidenced by their adoration of these figures–does not, and will not, see a difference between them. We need them to stop turning a blind eye to big name, beloved, ‘experts’ and entities who do the very same thing people like Dean Schneider are doing. The public–as evidenced by their adoration of these figures–does not, and will not, see a difference between them because there is no fundamental difference to see.
Dean Schneider’s lions (from what CWW can ascertain) receive the same balanced diet and level of veterinarian care and attention that Kevin Richardson’s lions receive. Richardson took his lions out on ‘enrichment walks’ until one of them killed Megan van der Zwan, and now he’s created a huge new fenced enclosure in which to walk with them for ‘enrichment’ purposes. Schneider’s lions live in a massive, natural enclosure wherein they will eventually be allowed to hunt live food, and are provided with a very naturalistic life–aside from Schneider interacting with them.
Schneider, and Richardson both learned to handle lions through interactions at established exploitive facilities, both now refer to themselves as animal behaviourists, both have participated in various ‘conservation projects’ beyond their own facilities, both have spent time with outreach programs, both profess to educate the public. Schneider is dealing with the current drama of a video purportedly showing him to punch his lion, something that he’s already successfully segwayed into a boost in followers, while Richardson trained children to strike lions in the face during the making of Mia And The White Lion, a movie which gained worldwide notoriety and accolades.
The public supports both of these figures because Richardson has been, and continues to be upheld as a saviour of lions, while Schneider is simply the “2020 modern model” of Richardson.
Making a couple of posts in the throes of a viral skirmish about alleged abuse on the part of Dean Schneider is simply not good enough to effectively reverse the public fixation with captive big cat interactions. Neither is sharing articles which do as much to support Schneider, by repeating his own self-serving false information presenting him as someone with ‘good intentions’ as they do criticize him.
Unless entities like Blood Lions, Volunteers In Africa Beware, EMS Foundation, Captivity Kills, People Against Canned Hunting, Voices For The Voiceless, and the hundreds of other pages, groups, and people who have shared Blood Lions’s posts, and ViAB’s posts about Schneider also start naming, and including entities like Kevin Richardson, and Eduardo Serio, Sirga The Lioness, and others who operate solely on the basis of interacting with their captive big cats and other wild animals, nothing is going to change in the future.
CWW has wondered for years, now, as stated in one of BL’s recent posts about Schneider, yes, “why do these individuals gain a ‘hero status’” for interacting with their captive lions when “we have real conservationists and wildlife rangers working to protect our heritage” of wild lions in wild spaces on a daily basis? Of wild lions in wild spaces on a daily basis? Why indeed?
Thus, CWW would like to alter the EMS Foundation’s suggestion to more accurately state that
“It’s time” for conservation groups, and entities to join CWW’s ongoing examination of “the Big Cat Saviour personalities in South Africa.” rather than only chiming in when there’s a public uproar on the matter.
We will never stop in our efforts to educate the public about the fact that interactions with captive bred wildlife only serves to promote interactions with captive bred wildlife. Regardless of acknowledgement, or whether or not CWW is ever offered the common respect for having lead the way in addressing this matter openly and publicly, CWW will continue as we have for the last several years. However, it will remain an uphill battle to counter the ideologies set forth by exploiters like Schneider, Richardson, and those like them, so long as established pages, groups and foundations, continue to refuse to take a solid stance on the subject the way we have.
Circling back to the errors being reinforced within the viral articles which are shared so much attention during this frenzy, we are addressing the major points below.
Among the false information being provided in the articles which are now being shared by established conservation entities like those mentioned above, thus spreading the false information further:
– This is a shocking, unexpected incident, which has caused Dean Schneider’s fans to question him, and accuse him of abuse.
Schneider has struck his lions before, and Captive Wildlife Watchdog has discussed it before, pointing out that other entities who handle their big cats do likewise. As mentioned by CWW in our articles, the “asserting oneself as a pride member” involves striking big cats. Eduardo Serio of Black Jaguar White Tiger has done it, and so has Kevin Richardson. Richardson has even coached the child-actors of Mia And The White Lion to “grab his tongue, smack him, do whatever you’ve got to do” in order to get an adolescent lion to release its grip on her head while wrestling on the ground together. In that video, the young child actress can be seen slapping the lion in the face, and it then releases her, at which point Richardson congratulates her and praises her actions. Schneider’s propensity for striking his animals is so well documented that his fans have immediately responded the two accusations of abuse by defending Schneider, and providing explanations as to why what he’s doing is not abuse, but rather Haters are simply lying about him out of jealousy.
Dean Schneider quit his job in Switzerland to move to Africa and care for a pride of lions.
Schneider did not quit his job, or give up a lifestyle, or sacrifice anything in order to move to Africa to care for lions. After visiting Africa with the investment company he ran, LifeGate AG, Dean Schneider chose to purchase land in Africa, and open his own ‘sanctuary’. In order to grow his fan base, Dean Schneider himself propagated the story that he’d given up everything he owned, and abandoned an exclusive lifestyle in order to move to Africa. His PR people created these stories and disseminated them repeatedly, and intentionally in a calculated move to create viral sensations. It worked, especially with the help of Bored Panda, who shared one of those fake articles, resulting in millions of news and shares. CWW took Bored Panda on directly, and our confrontation with them resulted in a deletion of their post about Schneider, followed by a cover up that they’d ever promoted him. The entire event was documented in a Note published by CWW, which we would love to link readers to, but cannot, as Schneider reported it for under false DMCA accusations, and Facebook removed our note. This is standard for Schneider, who also reported CWW for posting a hyperlink to the music video which was filmed on Hakuna Mipaka, wherein his lion Dexter was used as a prop. Schneider regularly jets back and forth to Switzerland, and is still listed on several banking businesses as a founder, or other entity, and enjoys lavish receptions celebrating himself as an influencer.
Dean Schneider received no training in animal handling before moving to Africa and starting his sanctuary.
Schneider first worked with Klaudia Kollar of Malkia Park Big Cats Rescue. In its earliest days (opened to the public in 2016) Malkia Park allowed direct contact with the big cats in its care. Schneider worked with them on a regular basis, from cubs to adults. But when Kollar came to the realization that handling captive big cats, and allowing the public to also do so, only contributed to the problem, and normalized interactions between humans and big cats, she ceased all hands-on activities (CWW has spoken with Kollar several times about this, and while videos of her interacting with some of the cats continue to circulate, there is no indication anything is more recent than 2016, when we first encountered her and she was in the process of going hands off). After the ban on interactions, and hands-off care was put into place, Schneider parted ways with Kollar. He chose to purchase land in South Africa, having already visited at that point, with LifeGate AG for a trip, and made connections with Luke Cornell, of Cornellskop Animal Encounters. Cornellskop is also where Schneider met Jesse, his “right-hand man”. Under the guidance of Luke Cornell, Schneider worked with lions and other big cats, including cheetahs, handling them at all stages of development, from cub to adult, including training methods. Schneider also learned all about various species of primate, had exposure to captive bred wolves, and hyenas, along with herbivores like elands, zebra, giraffe and other antelope species. Schneider possesses licensing to breed and sell animals, and has bought those in his care, likely from sources or contacts associated with Cornellskop, which also breeds and sells. Hakuna Mipaka shares a huge number of species also found at Cornellskop, including elands, zebra, lions, hyenas, cheetah, primates, reptiles, and wolf-hybrids or wolves. A fan of Schneider’s has helpfully created this nearly 20 minute long video, titled “Beautiful Old Moments” which showcases just how much experience and interaction Schneider had with big cats and primates in the period before he founded Hakuna Mipaka. The greener, more urban settings shown are Malkia Park, while most of the rest is footage from Cornellskop.
The above points are examples of Schneider’s own misinformation formulated to present himself as a pious hero who sacrificed a world of privilege to embrace a life of struggle, surrounded by his ‘family’ of ‘rescued’ animals. The false narrative has worked to magnificent effect, allowing Schneider–in the absence of any countering forces aside from CWW–to create a massive fan base. Even the current media kerfuffle pertaining to his abuse in the form of punching one of his lions has helped, rather than harmed him, pushing his follower count beyond the 7 million mark on Instagram.
And damage control on Schneider’s part is well underway. In a 6 minute Instagram post, Schneider explains to his fans that everyone who does anything worthwhile in life will, at some point, face Haters who, out of jealousy, boredom, or unhappiness with their own lives, will attempt to take down those who are more successful, more popular, or just better people, than they are. Schneider goes on to explain the video that shows him throwing punches, even playing the entire clip (which is cut short in the Gabo-released footage) and stating that while the articles written by Haters claim he’s being investigated for abuse, he’s never been contacted by authorities. Schneider then invites authorities to come to Hakuna Mipaka and meet him, and inspect the facility. The video has been viewed nearly 2 million times as of this drafting. A second, much shorter video, in which Schneider laughingly thanks all of his Haters for helping him surpass 7 million followers, has been views over 1 million times so far.
Here is the fact that is not being acknowledged or discussed by the media (because the authors of these viral articles are not experts and are ignorant) or by the conservation pages sharing them and making statements of their own in regard to all of this drama:
Schneider’s physical strikes on his lion will not, and we cannot stress this enough, will not be categorized as abuse of a level that warrants citation, or removal of those animals. Period. There is no one, and again, we cannot stress this enough, there is no one, who interacts with captive big cats who has not whacked those cats on the nose, head, body, etc. during their training and interactions.
Fans may not witness it in videos, may not believe it occurs, but the fact remains that it does, and anyone who claims they have never done so while interacting with their captive big cats is lying.
Whether it’s a stick, or staff, a shoe, the flat of a hand, a whip, elbow, a human body part, or artificial aid, all captive big cats who are directly interacted with by humans have been struck at some point in order to ‘lay the boundary’ of what is, and is not acceptable during those interactions. The only way to prevent this from happening is to prevent humans from engaging in interactions with captive big cats, and captive wildlife in general. This is the conversation that the media, and those sharing the media’s limited articles could have, and should have, engaged in.
What’s happening right now in regard to Schneider is like Americans attacking Harvey Weinstein in the US for his engagement in abusive activities, but not demanding that Hollywood stop supporting the activities that Weinstein is being vilified for participating in. Schneider exists because the current regime within the captive big cat world allows, and rewards, the interaction of humans and captive big cats in the form of popularity and fandom. It’s the only thing that makes it possible for people like Schneider, Serio, Antle, to exist. And in South Africa, that regime was built from the ground up, in no small part, by Kevin Richardson. Lion farms, captive lion breeding, and canned hunting have existed for many years prior to the last two decades (Douglas H. Fletcher is attributed to have started breeding lions in captivity in the 1960s, and in 1980 established Sandhurst Safaris, lions being one their primary game animals. Now called Tinashe Outfitters and run by Fletcher’s son, Clayton they hosts all manner of big cats. But being touted as a conservationist, and beatified as a hero for interacting with captive wild lions is an immediately modern archetype created by and exemplified Richardson alone. Until this revered archetype is publicly dismantled for the fraud that it is, others are going to continue adopting it, and exploit
You can keep up to date with Captive Wildlife Watchdog updates and exposés HERE.
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