The owner of Thandeka Safaris in North West has been forced to withdraw a divisive promotional package, which offered visitors the chance to tailor their own “bespoke” lion hunting programme.
Customers are allowed to choose the sex of the lion they want to hunt and are then given a price based on the criteria. The package is billed as an “exciting opportunity to hunt your dream female lion” in the open plains of Vergelee. With lionesses being the main hunters in the pride, they are often more sought-after:
Thandeka Safaris caught up in social media backlash
A social media storm has engulfed the resort, which lies near the border of Botswana. Tommy van Vuuren – the owner of Thandeka Safaris – has revealed to Cape Talk that he has received death threats since his ad went viral, and sick taunts were also made about his family.
“People have been threatening me and my family, so I felt an animal life is not worth putting my family’s life at risk. People have been telling me that animal life is more valuable than human life. They’ve been telling me they will send people to kill me and rape my children.”
Tommy van Vuuren
“Up to 38 animals” can be hunted
Although this abhorrent abuse has no place in civilised society, van Vuuren is in a highly-controversial field of work. Game hunting is still a popular pursuit, but it has encountered much more opposition in the 21st century. Many hunters claim they hunt to “control animal populations”, but it’s an excuse that has previously been discredited.
Thandeka Safaris may have backed down on their lion hunting offer, but their website shows that a range of “tailored” hunting options are still on offer. Guests at the lodge can choose from 38 animals they want to stalk and potentially kill, and yes, both male and female lions feature on the menu:
Wag-‘n-Bietjie horror farm
This backlash has come just a few days after it was revealed that 54 lions had been killed at a canned hunting farm in Wag-‘n-Bietjie, 32km outside Bloemfontein. Dozens more remain in captivity and have been made to live in squalid conditions.
The animals are slaughtered and then sold for their bones, yet somehow, the farm is fully-licensed to carry out these acts due to the lucrative demand coming from South East Asia.