Prohibiting Canned Hunting of Big Cats

What Is A Canned Hunt?

Unlike hunting in the wild, a canned hunt consists of confining an animal in a fenced area in which the animal has no chance of escape for the sole purpose of killing it for recreation and entertainment; the canned hunter is guaranteed a trophy. In recent years, canned hunts include killing caged or confined animals via internet remote controlled triggering devices. The animals used in canned hunts are bred in captivity specifically for this purpose; canned hunts however do include non-native exotic animals that are obtained from private breeders, dealers or exotic animal auctions.

The practice of canned hunting is wrought with legal, moral and ethical issues. There is no conservation or scientific value in canned hunting. From a traditional hunting perspective it lacks "fair chase," and is not recognized by most hunting organizations, though some groups approve of the practice and will accept trophies attained through a canned hunt in their statistics.

WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society is of the view that canned hunting is an outdated, cruel blood sport that lacks ethical sportsmanship and does not foster conservation of endangered species in the wild. It reflects poorly on our culture and should be considered a crime against society, humanity and nature. To shoot a confined, trapped animal and call it recreational hunting and conservation is simply ludicrous; this is not science, this is not conservation, this is not species survival.

Caged Lionesses

Currently 18 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah) and the District of Columbia ban canned hunting of all exotic animals, specific wild animals including big cats native or non-native and/or zoo and circus animals.

There is no federal law banning the practice of canned hunts.

What We Are Doing

WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society petitioned U.S. Representatives Jim Moran and John Campbell who are the Chairmen of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus to support our draft legislation and introduce a bill that would amend Title 18 of the United States Code, making it a federal crime under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) to conduct or otherwise engage in caged, confined or canned hunts of any native or non-native wildcat bred in captivity or taken from the wild.

Since 1994, similar legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives however, none of the bills ever made it past the congressional committee review process.

We petitioned Kevin Shea, Administrator of the Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Daniel Ashe, Director of the Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service to review the regulations under the AWA and ESA to support our proposed legislative amendment; and sought the advisory support of the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council, and are on their agenda for their September 2013 meeting.

At the state level, we are in the process of petitioning state legislatures that do not specifically ban canned hunting of big cats or the laws are silent to consider our draft legislation and implement measures that will prohibit canned hunting of big cats.

In conjunction with the development of our U.S. wildcat population database Project Sabu, we are investigating the disposition of all wildcats held in captive environments in the United States. Our investigation will culminate in a special report, Cradle to Grave: The Life and Death of America’s Captive Big Cats.

WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society takes the position that wildcats native or non-native are recognized as endangered or threatened under the ESA or under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Permits and or/licenses are required under the federal law with respect to breeding and trade of native and nonnative endangered species. As such, these big cats should never be bred, offered for sale, auctioned, sold, purchased, donated or otherwise transferred to a canned hunting facility or game preserve, since the premise for obtaining permits and/or licenses for breeding or for other commercial activities is solely "to enhance the propagation or survival of the affected species."

How You Can Help


Join us in our initiative to end canned hunting of all big cats! Complete our petition form!

Contact your federal congressional representatives. Let them know in your own words, why canned hunting of big cats should be banned under federal law. United States House of Representatives United States Senate

Where does your state stand on this issue? Check out our State Statutes Summary Chart!

Be a part of our petition to the state legislators! Register With Us!

Global March for Lions! ~ Washington

Global March for Lions

Global March for Lions ~ Washington, DC ~ 03.15.2014

We are honored to announce the Global March for Lions in Washington, DC was a Roaring Success! WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society served as the host organizer for this phenomenal and historic event to ban canned hunting in South Africa.

Global March for Lions ~ Trailer Documentary Short

For more information on the Global March for Lions in Washington, DC via Facebook: click here!

Not a member of Facebook? Want to join us? Sign up with us via email! Send your contact information to: and for more information about the Global March for Lions see: Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH)

Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH)

Did you know African lions are bred in captivity solely for canned hunting operations in South Africa?

Chris Mercer, founder and director of the South African NGO, Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH), answers frequently asked questions and provides in-depth information regarding the canned hunting industry in South Africa: Campaign Against Canned Hunting (CACH)

To gain a better understanding of this issue through a philosophical perspective, we recommend: Countering the Moral and Ethical Argument for Canned Hunting of Captive Bred Lions in South Africa, by Richard Hargreaves, Journal of the WildCat Conservation Legal Aid Society, Summer 2010, Vol. III

For more information on the Canned Hunting industry in South Africa, watch these recently released televised investigation reports:

Special Assignment: The Con in Conservation Part 1

Special Assignment: The Con in Conservation Part 2