More lions live in captivity than do in the wild (5000 v. 2000).
Today, instead of allowing lions to remain "The King of the Jungle," they have been reduced to mere commodities. Canned hunting is a trophy hunt in which lions that were previously bred in captivity and then released into the wild are targeted by hunters who pay tens of thousands of dollars to obtain access to these animals. These lions are typically not as accustomed to living in the wild thus are not as vigilant, alert, and aggressive as wild lions and cannot protect themselves as efficiently. Canned hunting is practiced wildly throughout South Africa, bringing an enormous amount of money to farms that breed lions. In my opinion, it is extremely unethical and another way in which humans are destroying African wildlife.
Today, there are over 160 farms legally breeding lions, with many of them engaging or selling their cats to programs that engage in canned hunting. Each year, hundreds of lions are killed in trophy hunts. Canned hunting was banned in South Africa under a 2007 government regulation that made the hunting of lions released into the wild less than 24 months prior illegal. However, the regulation was struck down in 2010 as a result of the protests of special interest groups.
The idea of breeding lions just to kill them--trophy hunting--is inhumane to say the least. The South African government must act quickly in order to curb this practice. With the numbers of lions dwindling every year, it is important that conservations fulfill their purpose to conserve the animals that they breed and nurse to health.