I have not been to a big cat park in South Africa where I can pet or take close-ups with the cubs or adult cats. Its REALLY tempting! I mean, lion cubs! They are too cute and I would LOVE to hear those cats purr up close. But these venues are problematic. Each time I see one of those pictures pop up in my various newsfeeds I just see “dead cats walking”. These big cat farms are breeding grounds for the canned “hunting” (calling what happens hunting is problematic) farms, where wealthy foreigners pay to shoot and import the trophy.
But I just can’t bring myself to go. I know in a case like this my active non-anticipation in this tourist activity will not change the industry. However, I can keep talking and writing about the ethical issues of these parks and tourist ventures. Hopefully, as the truth spreads, as it did with Blackfish, tourist money can go towards efforts that do provide actual conservation efforts to protect these amazing big cats and their habitat.