tv Blood Lions MSNBC October 9, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT
wendy, did she win everything? >> you get the totally amazing cocktail shaker and the white board, which will be signed by rachel. >> i will absolutely sign it. and we will not bother sending you a bag of dowels and pictures of john boehner. >> thank you. >> it was great having you here. >> thank you so much. >> if you want to play, it's very easy, all you have to do is send us an e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. that really is the address. just tell us who you are, where you're from, why umt to play. there's more nunk in our offices every single freaking day including giant junk. i don't know where it all comes from. but we would love to give it to you. it's been a news week. lots of twists and turns in this week. it's been great to have you with us all week long. but now, we are not going to prison. we are going to switch gears because tonight right now is the new msnbc documentary "blood lions." have a good night.
an american dentist standing over his prized kill. lion hunting is a growing business, especially with americans, and one of the most popular forms, canned hunting, virtually guarantees the hunter a kill by providing a domesticated hand-raised lion in an enclosed space. critics call these hunts cruel, but proponents say the practice allows the wild lion population to stabilize and grow. canned hunting is outlawed in some countries and some u.s. states. but in south africa, it is legal and the government reports, there are at least 6,000 lions currently being raised that have been bred mostly for american trophy hunters. the dentist who shot a beloved and protected lion named cecil was not on a canned hunt, but the documentary "blood lions" is about to take you inside the rarely seen world of lion breeding farms and the industry it supports. however you feel about hunting,
you may find this film disturbing. it was not produced by msnbc. it was made by conservation advocates who want to end canned lion hunting. watch and make your own decision. >> for me, part of the story, part of the narrative is brutality. i certainly believe that this is a continuation of the brutal story of south africa's past. i was riding horses with a very well-known operator in the delta, and we used to share that position with hunting operators. and outside of the season we would often hear shots going off. you would hear small aircraft landing. those shots we were hearing and those light aircraft were hunters operating illegally
outside of the season. and that's really what got me going. [ phone ringing ] >> hello? >> hi. i'm calling from the united states and i would like to see about doing one of your lion hunts. can you talk to me? >> yes, i can. what did you say was your name? >> my name is rick. >> the hunting that i have done has been primarily to put food on the table. you get your deer tag at the start of the season and you do a proper hunt. >> our culture has held weapons in high esteem since our inception. second amendment rights to bear arms. i've got no qualms with that. >> i got the opportunity to see a clip on canned hunting.
blasting away, blasting away. what disturbed me the most was the baiting of the animal. and just as he was about to take a bite, the shots start going off. and it's not just one shot. >> whoa, whoa, whoa. >> six shots. six shots. i think that's what propelled me into this and made me want to find out for myself. see what this one says. well, i went online and took a look at a number of different websites. if you've got the money, you know, there's people here that will take it. i've got, you know, a limited amount of time that i'm going to
have free. >> two nights will be time for -- will be enough time. >> okay. they came back with 14 animals. pictures of 14 animals. 13 of them were males and one was a female. about $16,000 for a young blond manes males, up to $48,000 for a black mane male. >> the more the mane, the more expensive they get. >> okay. click, i want that one. let me have that one. >> you can bring your friend along for the dvd and the video, sure.
>> so i can do a video with a sound guy without any problem? >> no, that won't be a problem. >> perfect, thank you so much. >> thank you, see you soon. >> thank you, rick. >> goodbye. holy crap. canned hunting is all about a quick, easy kill for the hunter. and it's about large profits for the operator. so the best way to achieve both of those goals is to breed lions intensively. >> it's very difficult to get information on these industries. it's one thing to hear the stories or to suspect, but it's another to actually go in and see it for yourself and to film it yourself. but that's what i did.
>> the more you're around them, the more they get used to you. but you never get a lion tame. they were born to be wild. >> that mane is really black, eh? >> yeah, it's very black, yeah. that's what makes it nice, a nice lion. the blacker the mane, the more -- the nicer they are. >> i just put on the surveillance camera, just in case that we end up with a little bit of a confrontation here. >> unfortunately we're not able
to do this. there's something wrong with the cruiser. with the vehicle. sorry about that. >> hello, i would like to see is ms. ingrid here? >> she's not here. 's due to arrive any minute now. she went into town to collect milk. >> yeah. he's going to tell us the three people are here. >> she's going to be a little bit more delayed in time. she doesn't know really. she might be an hour or two. >> hi, is that ingrid? we've just come to talk about what you do here and what you're involved in. so there's no chance that you'll be back in the next short while? another way they protect
themselves is that they pass on information to each other about people who may very well be on their property filming and asking the right questions. so when we approached the first property, the owner of that farm was suspicious of us and very quickly he had phoned other farmers in the area. and so when we arrived on the property, they already knew. coming down this road now, it takes me straight back. and i have a very clear recollection of how awful this place was. how are you? >> fine and you? >> thanks. what do we pay to just have a look around? >> you don't pay to walk around because you are from the greenies. we know you. you are from the greenies from overseas. we don't know from where, but
you are from the greenies. so it is better for you to go away. it's much easier for us. i'm not argument any more with you. can you go, please? >> we want to see what goes on. these are open to the public. >> i'm sorry, guys. >> what is there to hide? that's point. >> i give you two minutes to leave my property. two minutes. two minutes. i give you two minutes. >> nick, nick, don't, don't. >> i give you two minutes. >> it's exactly the same guy who i had an altercation with 12 years ago. his attitude hasn't changed one bit. >> if you get a broadside shot. i want you to shoot the lion here. >> in the shoulder? >> in the shoulder. >> always expect unexpectable. if the lion charges, don't run,
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>> done some research on regular lion hunts. they may take two or three weeks before they even get a shot off, whereas what i'm doing is, i get there on monday. tuesday i tour the place, wednesday i get my lion. i bring him in, shoot him down, ship him off. it's entirely too easy. >> is it slow growing? >> it's definitely slow growing. remember most of these predators rf going into the hunting market. i can prove it with the am of permits being issued at the moment. so yeah, it's a big industry,
it's a massive industry. >> you want to start a captive breeding facility for lions or for predators, all you need is the money to buy the land, to put up the fences and to apply for your permit. there are no requirements in terms of having any knowledge of animal husbandry, animal care, or any basic understanding of what lion behavior, lion biology is. unfortunately for lions, they breed relatively easily in captivity and this has allowed the canned lion hunting industry to grow. now they need a ready supply of animals, animals that are relatively tame and can be managed and that can be profitable. so they need to be done in a very intensive situation. the cubs are pulled from the mother at anything between 3 and 10 days. and that is so she's able to breed again very, very quickly a second and a third time.
so she's breeding many, many more times in her life cycle than she would be doing in the wild. you're actually wearing her after exhausting her. and it also shows that the cubs breed under those intensive situations, are becoming progressively weaker. they're not looking to have genetically healthy animals, they're looking to have as many animals to pump into the industry. >> it's completely against the animal's welfare, but it's not illegal. and the lion farmers know that. they generally do as humanly possible for these animals. >> breeding wild animals is no sin. it is an international accepted norm.
they do that with buffalo and with sables and with crocodiles. but no one complains about that. they complain about lions because the lion as a species has this special position in the mind of people. he's the king of the animal kingdom, and he's the icon of wildlife. but that's only a perception in people's minds. >> do you see any distinction between wild animals and domestic animals? >> for sure there's a distinction. some of them are wild and some of them are tame. but in principle, there is no difference. >> are you or your department aware of how many lions are being kept right now on farms across south africa? >> there's approximately 6,000 lions now in about 200
facilities in south africa. >> so intensive breedings of lions is acceptable? >> it is a regulated activity. so yes, it is something that will be authorized, provided that certain conditions are met. >> okay, now we've just found the turnoff to zancheta. i haven't been here before, but i believe that they have a number of different species of cats, including lions, that they are breeding. >> we don't breed, maybe once every second year we get a litter, but we do not breed because of all the speculations and people saying you're just breeding for hunting. and we don't. that's not what we want.
the cubs stay with her up until ten days and we take them away. >> what's interesting here is that there's this pretense in a way that this is different, they're a sanctuary. but halfway through the tour, it comes up that they're selling animals, so we're not sure about their credentials. >> this is milan and sylvester. they will be leaving us next week. they're going to a game lodge where they will be reintroduced back into the wild. >> it's very clear across the world that a proper sanctuary does not breed, does not trade, and it has no interaction. so i don't know how the majority of these properties can claim to be sanctuaries. >> the huge different between a bonified sanctuary, which we are, and the majority of captive lion facilities in south africa is that we have a strict no-breeding policy.
and then we also offer a lifetime home. we have a country where a large, large majority of people profess to be animal lovers, yet seem to be oblivious to the fact that every single day in south africa, at least two or three captive bred, hand-bred tame lions are being slaughtered in canned hunts. >> i've got two black leopards brown lions and bengal tigers. this is the third litter of the white lion sitting there.
that's the third litter. these ones are eight months. >> i take the lions away after one week because otherwise they're wild. >> she's pregnant now again. >> is she? >> we give them powder milk from the vet, but they don't like it. so i give them normal cow milk. >> so where do they go? >> not for hunting. just f just for -- >> okay. >> the more i got into this, i noticed there is something that is not right about this place. >> the feedback we get from these facilities is that we don't breed and that we're not involved in canned hunting. that begs the question, where do all these cubs come from? and where do all these older lions go? technology empowers us to achieve more.
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up to date, i've looked at two of these places. and the first time i got introduced to these breeding farms, i thought that it was all for conservation and very ethical. >> it had always been my dream to come to africa anyway, but i got to a point in my life, i guess, where i got fed up with touristy holidays and i wanted to give something back. and i thought, well, i've always been a cat person. >> for 30 days, you pay me, it was $2,800 u.s. dollars. >> there were up to 35 volunteers at the stage. and there's not a lot of work for these volunteers. when these overseas volunteers come, what i notice is they're very blind to the fact of what is really going on. what i picked up working at one of these places for a year. >> at first, i thought it was
amazing, you know, how we could get interaction with them. but the more i got into this, i just -- i just see and notice that there is something that is not right about this place. >> these places were saying that they were taking these lions and putting them back into nature and also that the lions are on decline in africa and they're using these breeding projects to put them back into conservation. >> and when do you take them away from their mother? >> we usually do it at about two weeks. but these guys are an exception. we give them three days. >> the cubs are being taken away and that produces another whole industry in itself. then you have these orphaned cubs that are put out on adoption that become a part of these intensive volunteer programs. and young, keen volunteers come
in and believe that they are rearing an orphan lion cub and that they are contributing to conservation, when, in fact, in many sad cases all they're doing is rearing a cub that when they're the right age and no longer good for photographs to pay and play gets put into a hunting situation. >> those poor volunteers think they're really doing something for conversation. in the meantime, they're looking after the predator owner's animals, hand rearing them, giving them milk and they sleep with them and that type of stuff. that's not conservation. >> everyone wants to pet a lion cub or play with a lion cub. they want a photograph of themselves on facebook with a lion cub. and the wool is pulled over their eyes. they have no idea in many cases. >> the feedback we get from most of these facilities is that we don't breed and that we're not involved in canned hunting. so, of course, that begs the question, where do all these cubs come from and where do all these older lions go?
>> there is no conservation with these breeding lions in captivity. i think it's time the guys involved in that were actually honest and say this is a commercial venture. don't try to call it conservation. don't try to pretend that it's saving lions in the wild. >> a lot of people talk about conservation, but hunters are the real conservationists. the most effort, the most money, those are the people actually in the field. >> i'm an animal lover, therefore i'm a hunter. ♪ [engine revving] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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>> president obama travelled to roseburg, oregon, and met privately with the family of those lost in the college shooting. afterwards, he thanked the community for coming together to support the families. the congress is pressuring paul ryan to run for speaker of the house. his spokesman insists he's not running. meanwhile, he received a call from mitt romney.
romney praised ryan's passion and called him a man of ideas. now back to "bloodli lions." >> it's 5:20 in the morning. i heard the lions roaring off in the distance and the butterfly thing happening. but it's time i get myself settled back down. and, you know, focus on what i've got to do here. >> how is it, my name is rick. eric? nice to meet you. about ready to head off and do some target practice and see how well i shoot. >> we lost 95% of our lions in 50 years.
s we lose a rino every 10 or 12 hours. it's a bloodbath out there. this stuff will be gone before we know it. and it's much more important than we think. it affects the very fabric of this continent. >> we say to our children, think 100 years when you're long gone. would you be happy to hear that there's no lions in the african bush. and once they feel the sadness of it all, only then can they be able to step up and play a role and play their part in conserving our animals. >> we're at the forefront of every effort of lion conservation. a lot of people talk about conservation, but hunters are the real conservationists.
the most effort, the most money of people in the field, that's what the safari club does. it brings all those people together, gives them goals, gives them commonality. gives them something to work towards. this is the largest, certainly american hunting organization. some people even refer to it as the largest global hunting organization. literally the a to z of trophy hunting is on display at those conventions. then, of course, you have access to hunters. they can tell their stories. >> i think south africa is probably one of the only places in the world where we breed lions commercially. and we breed them for hunting.
and there's a lot of controversy about this issue. people that are nonhunters believe that hunters like us, hunting these lions drive them into distinction. but we are actually not. of course, we breed them commercially, we grow those numbers. >> commercially bred lions contribute to conservation because they take the pressure off of wild lions in an ever decreasing habitat that they have. and it also encourages the ranch owners to actually breed the lions, because the economics of the situation are, if an animal doesn't have an economic value, the rancher is not going to grow it. the lion was raised and other lions will be raised for future hunters. this is conservation, because if it wasn't for the hunter, the lion wouldn't be there.
he never would have been bred. >> but the lion will inevitably die anyway, but it's being hunted. >> but at least it has a purpose in life. >> i'm an animal lover, therefore i'm a hunter. i realize that wildlife is a very precious thing and every hunt that i go on is not about the kill. it's about the full experience. it's about getting to know the indigenous people, it's about seeing the wild life and appreciating them and when the time comes to hunt and to pursue a certain species, it's the oldest animal. it's going to die a certain death at some stage why not take that meat and give that to the people and enjoy the experience and the adventure and thrill behind hunting one of god's most incredible creatures. >> there's no comparison between
hunter and nonhunters, because again, hunters understand animals. that's our life. we have to understand and know things the average public doesn't have a clue. yeah, i'm an animal lover. i love animals. we have four dogs. >> don't take a photo of me. i'll kill you. i'll kill you. i warned you. don't take a photo of me. you total your brand new car.
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>> the professional hunter was describing some of his former clients. they had folks who couldn't even hit that target. it was only 50 meters. 50 yards, you know? they couldn't even hit the broadside of a barn. you've got no business being here unless you can handle a weapon properly. all right. do you guys feel comfortable with this? >> i just want to go back to the lodge and show you on the lion. on the lion, where the shot placement, where is the best shot placement. >> you can't look at predative breeding and canned hunting without addressing the greater trophy hunting issue.
because at the end of the day, people who come to shoot animals that have been bred on farms are still driven by the same issue, and that is the trophy. >> the nice thing about the ranch lions is they tend to be prettier. they have bigger manes because they've been bred for that. the ranches don't have the thick brush. the wild lions actually live in the brush. by walking through the brush all the time, it actually rips out their manes so most wild lions don't have a big full black mane, for example. >> are we able to say i want a lion with a dark mane and he should at least have some character. look at this lion and all the characters and all the marks on it. so where do i get a lion like that? i can ask a ranger, do you have a lion like this?
he can tell me yes, i do or no i don't. in an open area, i can't do that. i can't select my animal. i want to have these on my wall and tell a story about them. i want to be able to select them well. >> with rare exceptions, all forms of hunting have become canned hunting. these animals do not have infinite space in which to escape. it feeds into the whole advertising campaigns which you're seeing at the moment for trophy hunting and trophy hunters is that your kill is guaranteed. >> people don't have time.
in a sense, the instant gratification has brought rise to things like the captive-bred lion shooting, as we call it. hunting is not a term i would use there. >> the captive lion industry and the canned lion industry have actually created a completely new market. the hunter who will go to tanzania and spend huge amounts of money on a 21-day hunt knowing he may not even get that lion is a totally different market to the market that comes to south africa, who pays the money for a guaranteed hunt and he can get lion and whatever else he wants. >> people don't want to go and hunt wild lions and prefer to do these captive bred lions because there's a guarantee. it's a slam dunk deal.
you're going to get one. >> there's a number of professional hunters feel like we do, who are absolutely disgusted in what's happening with it. and unfortunately, we're the minority. when you confront them, they all talk about how much money they're making, and that these lions will one day be put back into the wild and, you know, it will help the wild lions. we don't see that at all. >> it is possible to reintroduce lions that are raised in captivity into areas of lions that became extinct. the captive lion population might become the savior of the african lion species. using captive-bred lions as a source for repopulating or supplementing wild populations is just a bad idea. these animals, which have lost their fear of humans, you've heard of there being conflict later. once individuals have been released into the wild, there's that much greater using the wild individual. they have lost some of their
ability to hunt, to basically survive in a natural setting and compete against other carnivores. i'm not aware of any captive lions that have made it successfully in the wild. it's been trialed numerous occasions, probably to the expense of millions of dollars. but it's not a viable conservation option. >> so what do you say to the people who say lions are endangered? >> i don't know what they're talking about. they don't have a fence. the truth is lion numbers are going up daily as we speak. >> many of the hunters you speak
to will even say that the lion populations that they hunt are increasing, or at least stable. that's a little bit like saying the world is flat. or there's no climate change. you design the argument that keeps you doing what you want to do. >> i want you to shoot the lion here. >> in the shoulder? >> in the shoulder. >> the reason why they were saying shoot it in the shoulder so that you would disable him so that way he could not charge. >> if you shoot a bad shot in this area, the lion -- there's the possibility of more than one shot. and we want you to kill the lion with one shot. >> if it happens that a lion end up on one of us, don't shoot, please don't shoot. always go down on your knees. >> they wanted you to feel that you were in the worst kind of danger. like you were going to die if you didn't shoot this animal.
>> always expect the unexpectable. if the lion charges, don't run, guys. please, please don't run. >> stay close as possible. >> you will always be between me and him. >> if the lion charge, keep on shooting. >> clearly of the great evils you can imagine in the world, putting a wild-at-heart predator into a confined area is one of them. then setting a safari on to shoot it is another. ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪ ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪
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>> okay, so about what i just did. >> it might be a little bit closer. >> you will shoot closer than what you've done. >> there's a tracker, right? >> no, eric's the tracker. >> no, no, the black guy. and the two cameraman right behind us. >> i will kill you. don't take a photo of me. i'll kill you. i warned you. don't take a photo of me. you must write a note and sign that it's not for tv or a newspaper or anything like that. off. off. or otherwise out. >> i don't understand. what happened? >> shut, shut. >> i don't understand. what happened? >> it's not what happened, it's what will happen. >> what do you mean what will happen?
>> or otherwise out. >> this is not good. >> let me explain. put it off, please. >> sorry? >> put it off. >> just turn it off. >> okay. the people come from behind us, the greenies. and they come with all of that publicity and they come and send people to make photos. that's why they -- >> i'm upset here, guys. i'm not happy here. these are my friends. >> i understand, sir. >> i'm not happy. i am not happy. why you say you are not happy? >> because you're treating my friends this way. i don't understand. >> if you're not happy, tell me
now then we are finished. >> we're finished? >> then you go, yeah. if you're not happy, tell me now. >> all right, let's not go. >> the folks who come here, knowing these animals are in an enclosure. knowing these animals have been hand raised and yet still pull that trigger, it's not a real hunt. >> right from the beginning, the idea was that he was never, ever going to shoot the lion. but we certainly needed to go through the process to find out what happens on these properties, what they're about.
>> it's going to be a difficult battle to close canned hunting, no doubt about that. i don't know how, honestly, the south african government is going to be able to tackle this, but ultimately they are responsible. because it's the lack of regulation in the early days, or the lack of law preventing canned hunting from developing in the very early days that has allowed the proliferation to the point where now we're talking of 6,000 to 8,000 lions in
captivity in these canned hunting facilities. >> what are you going to do? are you going to create sanctuaries? are you going to then sterilize every last one of them? personally, i think the whole lot should be euthanized. however terrible that might sound, what is their value to us today? honestly. >> the first step is to be in one mind as a country about whether we want this. is this something that we feel proud of as a nation. my feeling is i'm not proud of it. >> when we talk about demand reduction, we are talking about turning off the taps of those people who are coming to buy the trophy hunts. >> clearly of the great evils you can imagine in the world, putting a wild-at-heart predator into a confined area is one of them. then setting a safari out to shoot it is another.
some hunters do lay down their weapons. why do you think they do that? it has something to do with the look in the eye of the animal. and for the first time, that hunter sees himself in the eye of that other. and i think it is the beginnings of seeing everything in life differently after you put down that gun. it is an eye of the prey that the shift of skin takes place, that the barrel points the other way and you find yourself hunting in a new country.