Rhino and Lion Reseve bans lion petting. Picture: supplied
Pretoria - The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, in the Cradle of Humankind, says it will no longer allow petting of lion cubs.

The decision was taken by new manager, Mike Fynn.

“The reason of course is the difficulty that tourist facilities run into when the cubs grow older; there is no market for them other than the canned hunting industry,” said the reserve on Monday.

“This ethical position has been taken before so this is not unprecedented. Some years ago, the Lion and Safari Park tried to abandon cub petting only to find that they lost so much tourist traffic that they were obliged to reinstate cub petting.”

The cost of making the “morally courageous decision” should not be underestimated, said the reserve. It was expected that some tourist traffic would be lost, but hoped that numbers would be sustainable, so that the decision would not have to be reversed.

Fynn was the manager at Lion and Safari Park when he tried to take the same stand. “For good measure, Mike was an active member of the captive carnivore working group, a broad cross-section of all sectors interested in lion conservation, which was seeking to fill the gap in government regulation by drafting regulations which government could enforce to improve the conditions of lions,” said the reserve. 

 African News Agency (ANA)