Some have the stomach for it. I certainly don’t. But Hunting has unquestionably become a very popular “sport” around the world, attracting a very special breed – the high-spender, adventurous Don that dabbles in other similarly ‘unique’ hobbies such as High-Class Art Collection and Exotic Trips to places like Bangkok for their renowned exoticism and underground pleasures that most of us may never come (or want) to know about…much like Hunting…

“Mostly it’s middle-aged men,” said a voice on the other side of the phone at the T. Jeffrey Safari Company in Tucson, Arizona.

“We used to have a lot of entrepreneurs…people that were builders, in real estate and other entrepreneurial things. But that’s really slowed down a lot since the 2008 crisis. Now we have a lot of folks that are retired. They have special pensions, maybe investments [to cash in]. Sometimes retired pops, fire-fighters, teachers…”

But the fat, he said, comes from the “real high-end, very well-off lifestyles…”

There are “some families too,” he said.

“We do have quite a few wives that come along and they like to hunt with [their husbands]. We’ve even done hunts for women only, where it was groups of women together. We call them women in the wild,” he said, laughing, as he recalled a group “with a 20 something year old college graduate and a 75 year old woman all in one trip…”

“Jesus,” I told him. “That’s amazing. I’d never have the balls to pull something like that off.”


Hunting, as we all know, has been around for a long time – from the time our nomadic ancestors travelled across the land looking for wild game to hunt with spears and other weaponry crudely built out of stone and wood. But unlike those harsh times of survival of the fittest and constant warring for food sources, today Hunting is considered a pleasure “sport” – and a noble one, at that. Of course, there is also plenty of outrage at the bloody spectacle by animal rights groups and other interested circles.

Lately, the rise of Lion Hunting has reached international recognition and similar groups as the ones just mentioned have roared in protest.


In South Africa, more and more lions are being grown in Canned Hunting Farms – enclosed areas where cubs taken from their mother shortly after birth are grown by humans and placed on display to be petted and handled by gawking tourists eager to spend their travel dollars. A June 2010 video by Four Paws – an International animal charity – revealed that as a result of these unnatural living environments, many lions grow with “ill health and behavioural problems.”

When these lions are between the ages of four to seven years old they are considered to be at their prime, and are therefore transferred to larger enclosed areas where they are shot at an average rate of 1000 per year by affluent tourists with an itch to fire away their dollars. Indeed, a Male Lion with its Majestic Mane can run up to 50,000 Euros, depending on how thick and lustrous the Mane is; Females and sometimes cubs can run up to 5,000 Euros. Lions hunted under these conditions are ironically considered “Trophy Lions” – their skin being kept as the trophy.

It has been estimated that there are over 160 of these farms in South Africa, with the majority operating in the provinces of Free State, North West and Limpopo.  And the trend is rising. Between 2002 and 2008, the number of captive lions had increased by 250%.

The National Environment Agency in South Africa estimated that in 2006 there were only 322 lions shot; by 2007, there were over 700. The South African Predator Breeder Association estimates that in 2008 there were over 1,050 lions shot in total.

On top of this, a report by Four Paws states that hunting licenses and experience “isn’t usually necessary,” resulting many times in lions having to be shot more than once by inexperienced hunters in order to die, and agonizing in pain until they do.

Our friend from T. Jeffrey’s told me that although “most of [his clients] are people that have hunted before in North America,” they don’t need to have a license on this side to book the trip.

“It’s when they get to their country of destination that they need a license…Where the hunting actually takes place.”

Then he assured me that applicants need not worry about it, for T. Jeffrey’s handles “the whole process for them,” which consists of “basically giving your personal information and paying a fee,” at the end of which you’ll receive the license with no training necessary.

“For most of my hunts,” he said, “the fee for the license is included in the price of the hunt – usually very cheap – 50 or 100 bucks.” On average, a trip can cost between 7,000 and 10,000 dollars at T. Jeffrey’s.

However, he assured me that while some of the lions his clients hunted were “in very large enclosures” as opposed to the Wild, he “didn’t book canned hunts.”

“Noooooooooo,” he said. “I don’t know anybody that runs canned hunts.”

“A canned hunt is where they basically have the lion in a very small enclosure and they release it the day of the hunt and chase it down and shoot it…I don’t book those hunts,” he told me, sounding almost insulted at the fact that I had mentioned it.

But others do know of it. And as mentioned above, the trend is increasing, particularly as a result of the growing demand for Lion Bones for bogus sex-potions manufactured in many Asian countries and sold there and world-wide to men desperately trying to jump-start their own dysfunctional toys.


On Thursday August 9, 2012 Avaaz began its second phase of a Campaign directed at South African President Jacob Zuma, asking him to put a ban on the exportation of Lion Bones. The first phase was on June 27 of this year when they sent him a petition with 697,011 signatures from around the world asking him to ban this inhumane trade.

According to an Avaaz Press Release, most of the bones being exported are coming from lions hunted in Canned Hunting Farms, and with demand growing, the fear is that wild lions will also come under fire.

Jamie Choi, Campaign Director for Avaaz, told me in an email that “according to  the [Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora] (CITES) and confirmed by South Africa Environment Minister [Edna Molewa], lion carcass exports have increased by 250% between 2009 and 2010 – with over 300 lion carcasses exported to Lao and Vietnam in 2010.”

Advocacy Organization LionAid has estimated that a full lion skeleton goes for around R24,000 to R40,000 in the market (between $3,000 and $5,000 USD).

“Other unconfirmed figures put their value in excess of USD10,000 in some Asian countries,” said Choi. “This makes the lion bone trade an extremely lucrative market for the small group of South Africans involved in the business – enough to even make wild lions the targets of poaching attacks.”

Currently, in Africa there are just over 20,000 lions left, down from 200,000 in the 1970s. “In South Africa, there are now only an estimated 2,200 lions in the wild, most of them in the Kruger National Park,” Choi told me.

“At this rate, many conservationists believe lions could be next in line for extinction, behind the tigers and the rhinos.”

The reason for the second phase of the campaign, which is an Ad Campaign displaying hard-hitting ads in “Johannesburg Airport’s International Arrival Hall, South African Airway’s inflight magazine, and key Google search engines,” is the lack of response from either President Zuman’s office or from the office of the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs.

“Earlier this week we sent a letter via email and fax informing President Zuma and Minister Molewa about the launch of our ad campaign and have followed up with phone calls,” said Choi. “We are yet to receive an official response from their offices.”

The Ad Campaign wants to draw attention to these issues from the tourist industry, which looks to take a hard hit if more information like ads, articles and world-wide campaigns continue to shed light on these dark, atavistic practices.

For their part, the 2009 South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs said in an official document in that same year, answering a question posed by the Secretary to Parliament, that:

“The department regards canned hunting as a reprehensible practice and the judgment will ensure that this practice will indeed come to an end.”

Moreover, under Section 57(1) of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, No. 10 of 2004, it is stipulated that a person may not hunt “without a permit issued in terms of Chapter 7 of the Act.”

I contacted the office of the South Africa Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs asking what has been done to put a stop to the Canned Hunting Farms since 2009 and what kind of controls there are for the issuance of licenses. I am waiting a response.

There are many organizations out there like Four-Paws and Avaaz, to name a couple, that have begun petitions and are doing all kinds of work and asking for community support, all in an attempt to stop this brutal “sport”.

I’d like to think that what awaits South Africa is very much in the hands of the government of that country: whether to continue being a renowned place of wild-life and exotic beauty, or to become known as the place where rich dingbats with little to no experience shooting a gun can go and murder defenceless lions trapped in a cage…and call themselves Hunters.

However, I fear that the world-wide desire to have huge penises – and to swallow whatever hope someone sells you in a potion promising to engorge that shy member – and the huge profits generated may prove more powerful than conserving a truly Majestic Creature alive.


19 SEPTEMBER 2012, 3:42 P.M.

His eyes opened with the early Morning Sun Rays and the Songs of the tiny birds perched on the tree outside his window clamoring for nourishment at the top of their little lungs. His eyes still felt heavy and groggy, but it would pass soon, he knew, because his brain was, for some reason, intact. It did not feel tired or particularly awake either; it was just aware of its own presence and that of the Life taking shape outside of his window. He sat up as he finished opening his eyes, wiping away the last remnants of sleepiness from his face with his right hand, which was still half-asleep. The million pins puncturing his skin this early in the morning were shocking, but they weren’t unpleasant: they seemed to vibe to the Tune outside his window, and they felt right.

As he finished getting up he realized, with amazement, that he was floating and bobbing around in an Ocean.  His room was the same, and nothing seemed to be getting wet. But he just bobbed there – half his body under the water, and half above it.

He finished getting up and slowly inched towards the window in his shorts, shivering lightly as his skin popped with goose bumps and the hair on his body stood up because of the crispy morning. Despite the Light Rays that had awakened him, the morning’s air was heavy and it was obvious it would rain at any minute. When he swung the blinds open widely as he took the opportunity to let his bones in his arms adapt to the chilly morning and those in his legs to the freezing water, another cold breeze whistled by making a ‘wooooshhhhhhhh’ sound and violently swaying the tree outside his window. The tiny birds shut up for a second, but as soon as the gust had passed, they resumed their serenade.

He stood staring outside the window for a few minutes, contemplating the difference between a morning like this in the suburbs of Canada and the chilly Auroras that he once enjoyed in a far-away land in South America, where the cold ‘wooooshhhhhhhh’ would come directly from the Snow-Capped Mountains not 500 yards in front of the little wooden hut in the middle of Green Pastures that extended as far as the eye could see, and where his family had decided to stay for the weekend, visiting relatives that had chosen to seclude themselves and their cow and sheep herds away from the city-hell and far up in the mountains, where it took practice to adjust one’s breathing because the air was not only thin but so crisp that it felt like you were taking huge whiffs with a Mint plant shoved right up your nose; and where the water was so pure that city kids would complain that it tasted too “bland”…This was nothing like that, despite the beautiful orchestra that the birds had now assembled, and the chilly air that gave the impression of purity, and the Ocean that surrounded him…Then he shook himself out of his trance feeling nostalgic for a second, until he realized there was nothing he could do about that at this moment, and then, resigning himself to this depressing reality, he turned around and went to the washroom to cleanse himself, not feeling particularly anything but neutrality.

And so the day went on. People moved in and out of rooms and did this or that. The phone rang at times; at others the television was on. A guest of his brother would come in and out, and the dogs played in the backyard. Everyone seemed in tune with what they were doing – they all seem to know exactly what to do, and how to do it, and why they were doing it. And he watched this happen all day long with a remarkable impassivity. He was not moved left or right or down or up by anything. He just observed, with amazement, that no one even noticed the fact that he was bobbing in an Ocean. And he himself was amazed, for that matter, that no one else was floating too. He realized that everywhere he went, he was inside this Ocean, but no one else seemed to mind…or even get wet!

But at some point – while he performed some menial task that not even he cared for but felt compelled to do it for the sake of activity – he realized that indeed, as he had thought before but had chosen to ignore, something was wrong. He realized that there was indeed something bugging him, despite the fact he didn’t know what it was…but now, he thought, he was definitely closer to figuring it out.

It was precisely this impassivity, he realized, that had been brewing inside of him like water in a tea-pot, and now it was steaming. The paradox was hard to grip at first: how could it be, he thought, that despite feeling nothing – not feeling particularly sad, or depressed or anxious or worried, or happy or elated or excited, or horny or impotent – despite feeling absolutely nothing, he was feelingsomething…and what the hell did this fucking Ocean around him meant????…At first he couldn’t explain, but now it was becoming clear.


The thought of not feeling anything had crossed some wires inside, and now that was driving him mad. He sat on a stool in the basement staring at a wall while extremely loud music played in the background, and as he listened to the waves of violent sound he had hallucinations of past times and better times when he had not been captive of this godforsaken impassivity.

He recalled one night in Venezuela outside of a building where a girl he had met there lived. He was eating a sandwich prepared by a vendor with a mobile kiosk – one of the millions that roamed the city – while he waited for her to come down. When she came down, he ordered two more sandwiches and they sat down to eat them before they headed to the bar where they had planned on going earlier that night. They were talking about something when suddenly the mood had turned ugly and people sitting around them had begun to look up from their own conversations to witness this spectacle from these freaks in a foreign language. He could not recall what the argument was about, but he remembered it being very loud and full of swearing – he was sure the scene must have been antagonized by the fact that he had been drinking, which in those days he had been doing a lot of. Whatever the reason for the argument, he remembered two things. One was that it had passed within the next 15 minutes – as the countless list of those arguments had in the past – and that, like all those in the past, too, they had forgotten about it as they drank heavily in his apartment later that night and fucked savagely for the rest of the night until the first Sun-Light would begin to appear on the horizon and the various Rum and wine bottles bounced around the room empty. And the other thing he remembered was one distinct thing which seemed very relevant at this juncture in time, feeling impassive as he was.

Although probably melodramatizing things as most women do, he thought, she had hit a nerve when she told him that part of his insanity – which she often described as being not only evident but simultaneously erotic as well as dangerous and frightening – was due to the fact that he was never able to simply be…

“You can’t just chill out, can you!!??” she had screamed at him hysterically, calling the attention of everyone. “You always have to be feeeeling something,” she said as she squeezed her fists so tightly they turned white. “You’re either in the clouds – happy, ecstatic, high – whether on drugs or not!!…..Or you’re in Hell – in despair! Why can’t you just Chilll!!!”

Well goddamn, he thought, the truth is the truth. What had been bugging him so much was the fact that nothing had happened and that he had been, at a very subconscious (or perhaps unconscious) level looking for a High….or a Low…Basically for anything that had made him feel something.

He had gotten tired of the routine. He realized that he didn’t even want to go to the bars where he used to frequent in the weekends with a posse of other degenerates and fiends like himself, looking for trouble, for drink and for wild and loose women…which was easy to find in those days…and still is today, for matter, if one wants and knows where to look. But now he was not looking for any of that. All that High that came in those days was gone now – at least at this particular moment.

And the Lows, too, for that matter. As he sat there in the basement staring at the wall and letting the music slowly chip away at his ear drums, he realized that he couldn’t even feel that despair and sadness that had consumed him a few months ago at the loss of a beautiful and dearly loved girl whom he had already – foolishly, I may add – envisioned a future with. He had, for months, dragged himself with the snakes and the worms as he descended into a personal hell of catatonic depression. Though the point had never been to kill himself, he had probably consumed more alcohol on a daily basis in the following six months than he had in the past couple of years….But now all that was gone. He didn’t – or couldn’t, he feared – even feel that. He was just…There…Not really Up or Down…but just…there…

But he knew he wanted none of that back. He didn’t want those sleepless nights, fueled by chemical reactions to all sorts of legal and illegal stimulants that would be the razon d’etre for the insanity that would undoubtedly ensue as the nights went on, which would end in violence and shame, at the lowest points, and indiscriminate and perverse fun, at the highest. He also knew that he did not want that despair that would also keep him up at nights and that would transform into horrible hallucinations of a reality he wished were true but knew in his heart could never return: when he’d see the face of that lovely girl assuring everything will be ok, only to lure him into a savage trap that would end with maimed limbs or a distorted psyche.

No…He wanted none of that. He wanted something knew. He realized then that all day, despite his apparent impassivity – and all this time, for that matter – all these days and weeks and months when he had been looking under stones and in heaven and in hell…all this time when he had felt thatimpassivity…all this restlessness and disgust with the routine that he knew he was once part of….all of this had meant something: that he now looked for something Beautiful. He wanted action, sure, that was indisputable – he wanted to see the world, to travel it, to know it, to digest it, to let others know of what is happening with no censorship at all….But he wanted to see something Beautiful, first. He wanted to be blinded by something so Amazing that he’d be left speechless…Something like what that Lovely Girl had once meant. He wanted to be Shocked out of this impassivity…of this routine…of this dormancy….of this complacency…


So now he looks for it. He has left home. He is walking without shoes outside, letting the rain cleanse him of that old and antiquated view. He wants to look forward. He wants to see past the Horizon. So he’s decided to submerge himself, and now, as I write these last words, I can only see the trail of his kicking feet under the water, as he goes deeper and deeper into that Ocean that has apparently been Sourrounding him all his Life.