I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that reading this article got my blood boiling to the highest degrees – so much so that I had to take a walk outside before angrily bashing the keys to write this post.
Aside from the fact that this guy is illiterate, he is absolutely the fundamental reason why populations of big cats across Africa suffer ever-decreasing numbers.
His blog article titled ‘Where Can I Pet A Baby Lion?’ claims that cub-petting is fine as part of a volunteer programme, but not in a petting-zoo facility. It is this belief that we need to abolish.
People like this, who claim to know about conservation and think they are helping the survival of animals, are actually spreading false information based on uneducated perceptions of a tourism industry whose sole focus is turning a profit. In fact, this man even states that he has ‘no problem with profit seeking’ and refers to the cubs as ‘talents’.
He expresses such contradictory opinions that I cannot even fathom his thinking.
The harsh, modern-day truth is that social media rule the world. Too many people enjoy their experiences through a camera lens instead of taking it in with their full attention. But that’s okay, because they’ve got the photo for Facebook (thumbs up emoji).
In this sense, people do not question where the big cats come from or where they go after they have received their likes on Instagram.
In an incoherent collection of contradictions, this man states, ‘As long as quality of life and adulthood issues are valid I wouldn’t have a problem visiting somewhere that was run more directly for revenue’, yet in the same article displays videos of cubs being ripped away from their mothers to feed the industry’s greed for money.
Anyone who has ‘pet some tigers’ and ‘join a big kitty volunteer programme’ on their bucket list cannot claim to be an ethical conservationist. But the ramifications of his post reach further than that.
His preaching misinformed views to the public means that readers are led to believe that there are good and bad sides to cub-petting and will therefore be drawn to choose the ‘better side’. In fact, when it comes to cub-petting, there is no ethical action.
To his claim, ‘I think the only way for any member of the public to safely and ethically encounter a lion or tiger is if they are cubs and if you just happen to be in a place that has them for some reason’, I can only ask why someone would ever just happen to find themselves in a place that has cubs available for petting? And just because you ‘happen’ to be there, why does that make it okay to pet them? As well as being a highly unlikely situation to ‘find’ yourself in unless you are actively seeking cub-petting, whether as a volunteer or a tourist.
He goes on to explain that cub-petting is available in some establishments because ‘they may have something like an unexpected pregnancy’. In what world is an lion’s ‘unexpected pregnancy’ cause for human intervention to necessitate petting by the public. No lioness would ever let you take its young cub away from her, which means that it would have to be taken by force, causing severe distress for both the mother and the newborn cub.
He ends the article by claiming, ‘the only way I could support ethically encountering these cats to touch them would be in a volunteer program’.
– if a cub has forcefully been taken away from its mother
– if the cub IS handled by many different people every day
– if the cub is getting used to interaction and therefore losing its instinctual fear of humans
– if the cub is being fed by milk supplement
– if the cub will spend the rest of its life in an enclosure
– if the cub will never know the wild life that it deserves
Why would all of these factors be okay because the person doing it is a volunteer rather than a tourist?