Rare White Lion To Be Auctioned Off To Be Shot In South Africa

We have yet another disturbing account of a trophy hunt.  This time the victim is still breathing.  His name is Mufasa and he is a rare white lion who was rescued and sent to a rehab center. Now tribal leaders are refusing to give him back and instead want to sell the right to shoot the young lion among eager trophy hunters.

As many on this blog know, I am no fan of trophy hunting.  I simply fail to see why it is impressive or thrilling to shoot a giraffe or elephant with a high-powered rifle.    I just do not understand the thrill kill in shooting a beautiful animal. I often hiked considerable distances to see these animals in the wild and cannot imagine finding joy in killing them.  We previously followed the controversy over the shooting of “Cecil the Lion” by American dentist Walter Palmer from Minnesota. What was most striking was the complete disconnect in how such kills are seen by hunters versus the public at large, as shown by the subsequent controversy of a Idaho hunter taunting animal advocates and other such hunts (here and here and here and here and here).

In this case, Mufasa was bought illegally and taken from his owner and brought to the Wild For Life rehab centre in Rustenburg  in 2015.  He is one of 300 such beautiful animals in the world and officials wanted to release him into a wildlife park in Limpopo. However, tribal leaders had other thoughts. They have some legal bills and other debts and want to sell the right to shoot Mufasa.

What is difficult for many is to yield to virtual extortion by these tribal leaders who are essentially holding Mufasa hostage: either pay us money or we will shoot this helpless animal.

An online petition to save Mufasa that has garnered more than 200,000 signatures.

According to the Sunday Times, South Africa’s North West Department of Rural, Environmental and Agricultural Development is now trying to get back custody of Mufasa but officials have been told that Mufasa is going to be auctioned off to “recover legal costs.”

The terrible thing is that they will find plenty of hunters who want the joy of shooting this animal and being the one to take its life.

31 thoughts on “Rare White Lion To Be Auctioned Off To Be Shot In South Africa”

  1. African tribespeople can do what they wish with an animal they own. Frankly the thing is an oddity and probably has serious genetic problems and should euthanized.

  2. So sadly amusing such a fuss over the life of the life of a beautiful, albeit mutant, animal while tens of thousands of human lives are destroyed yearly in infancy simply as a convienience for frivolous unprotected casual sex. Irony is such a cruel mistress!

  3. Trophy Hunters need to be shot too. And tied up and thrown into lion cage with live lions who are hungry. Trophy hunters are the biggest jerks in the glove.

    1. Bruce – you may have a point. Were the lion all black would they be putting it up for auction? Is this a racist action by the SA government? Should the lion be given asylum?

  4. Reminds me of my college days (in the late 70’s): I can’t remember the “cause” they were soliciting for, but they had a blender full of live baby chicks on the quad and a sign threatening to turn it on if money was not donated.

  5. I think the smart thing to do is preserve this lion as a tourist attraction. I live in a small eastern state where the biologists that work for the state estimate that we now have about 100,000 deer inhabiting this state. During a typical hunting season hunters harvest approximately 12,000 deer. During the 1960’s the deer population was very low, but through proper game management ( including hunting) the herd was brought back to a very healthy position. On my bucket list of what I would like to hunt would be feral pigs in Texas and a spring hunt for white geese. No shortage of these critters.

    1. Without wolves, you have to have hunting to cull the deer population or they overrun the place. The boar were brought over from Europe for game in our country’s early days, and proliferated, crossing with escaped hogs. They can be aggressive, and their numbers need to be controlled. Good luck on your hunting bucket list.

  6. I, too, cannot fathom why anyone would want to shoot this magnificent animal. Sounds like this animal will have to be bought by a group or private individual before its captors will release it to a sanctuary.

    1. No, no, all indigenous people live in peace and harmony with each other and nature. The same human nature and fight for survival that drove everyone else does not reside in them.

  7. I am unclear as to the connection between Tribal Leaders and Wild for Life rehab centre. One doesn’t usually associate a wildlife rehab center with selling animals for trophy hunters. Does Wild for Life want to release him into the park? Do tribal leaders own Wild for Life? How do they get a say? Who presently owns the lion?

    An animal with leucism (a white animal with pigment loss but not albino) or albino animals are generally not released into the wild, because their genes are detrimental to survival. A white predator has difficulty with camouflage necessary to hunt, and a white prey animal draws the eye of every predator. Any white animal has tempted human hunters since before recorded time.

    However, a white lion on a nature preserve would draw tourist traffic. His unusual coloration might make it difficult for him to survive, but would generate park revenue. A male white lion might have a better chance than a lioness, because they have their females do most of the hunting while all they do is defend territory and breed.

    At the crux of it is who owns the lion? If the tribe has ownership, then they may be prevailed upon if a trophy fee was paid for the right to transport the animal to the intended nature preserve. That will also create a market for the tribe to find as many unusual animals as possible, and create an industry of threatening to kill them unless they are ransomed.

    Personally, I find Mufasa beautiful. I would like to see him and Suraya get to live on the preserve.

    The world rallies behind Mufasa because he is so beautiful, with his pearly white coat, so maladaptive to the grass. Lions are killed every day by trophy hunters, but there is not as much concern for the tawny ones. In some parts of the world, they are raised like livestock for hunters. I don’t care for it. You kill a predator that is a threat to people, or if they are predating on livestock and nothing else works, but I don’t get the breeding and selling of lions for sport hunting. You don’t eat a lion. It’s not my thing, but it’s not illegal in that country, so there is not much to do besides try to ransom Mufasa from the tribe.

    If people want to see trophy hunting decline, then make alternatives more profitable. It is so easy for us to decry trophy hunting from the comforts of the West, with full bellies, a roof over our heads, and a comfortable life. Most of the world does not live like that. Environmental or wildlife concerns are a luxury. Often, the West asks poor nations to forego revenue for something we object to. Trophy hunters pay exorbitant fees that are considered a valuable source of income. If you don’t want the tribe to profit off of his death, then make them an offer to profit off of his life.

    1. South Africa has a lot of problems, violence, and upheavals right now. I’ll bet they have a lot of legal bills. I don’t think they have given much thought to this lion. His death might pay off some of the court costs they have accrued from seizing Caucasian lands. They went another direction from everyone living together in peace and harmony, and the law protecting everyone equally. Meanwhile, those same tribal elders have refused to allow their members to own their own land on which they live, The Homelands. The tribe holds it “in trust,” and the elders control it. Often, they mismanage the land. They didn’t parcel out empty land, either. Instead, they have started seizing already developed land, which has thrown the country into turmoil. They are working hard to create another Zimbabwe or Liberia. They will so destroy the economy that this once prosperous nation, rather than healing its wounds, will soon plunge into the same fighting and famine so common in the region. I don’t think they care whether the lion lives or dies.

      The whole country is rapidly descending into chaos.

      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-safrica-politics-land-insight/tribal-chiefs-face-reckoning-over-rights-to-south-africas-rural-homelands-idUSKBN1KS193

    2. Karen S – trophy hunting defrays the costs of keeping an animal like this save. The new “owners” of the animal see a monetary value and if people want it in a zoo or reserve, then they will have to be the highest bidder in the auction.

      The problem with lions is that they breed like crazy and most zoos keeps them on birth control pills. And every zoo has one. This could be a nice addition, but where?

      1. With South Africa in such upheaval, what I can see happening is a charity buying this lion at an exorbitant fee, placing him on a preserve, where he will promptly be reclaimed as a natural resource by South Africa, and this will replay all over again.

  8. This reminds me of a German website many years ago where a person said that unless he received a certain amount of money, he would shoot and eat a rabbit. I believe the site had the title “Rette Pauli!”. (Save Pauli) I don’t remember what became of it, other than it generated a row.

    I do not know if hunting albino wildlife is legal in this country, but if those who are so upset about this should stop their slacktivism via signing some online petition and instead offer to buy the lion and send it to a reserve somewhere. Unfortunately, if this happened it likely will encourage others to obtain these animals for the purpose of holding them up for auction.

    If there was illegality involved and the state has the ability it should instead seize the animal and end the controversy.

    1. Darren Smith – my favorite was the cover on National Lampoon where they had the gun to the head of the dog and the cover said “If you do not buy this magazine, we will kill this dog!!!” Of course. I bought it in an effort to save the dog. It was the dog from the Our Gang comedies for goodness sake. How could you not save it.

  9. I’m sure most of the cowardly, bullying people on here are fine with shooting the white lion. Such an interesting blog; such a mean-spirited bunch following it.

    1. Or, if Trump threatened to cut-off foreign aid to every country, semi-country, failed state, sh*t hole, and tribe in black Africa unless this animal abuse stops, it would stop.

      1. The radio guy Dr Savage has spent a great deal of his time on money attempting to slow/stop much of this insanity of killing everything on the planet, trophy hunting, whales, elephants, etc.

        He spoke with Trump & said he seemed supportive, but someone on Trump’s team seems to be holding Trump back on correcting some of this crap & Savage is rightfully pissed.

        BTW: I support “Managed Hunting” like deer.
        (Add Dark Humor as you see fit)

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