Inside a Controversial South African Lion Farm

Nichole Sobecki’s story for National Geographic includes rare access inside one of South Africa’s controversial lion breeding farms that also offers sport hunts. This past April, National Council for Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) inspectors visited Pienika Farm and found lions being held in filthy, overcrowded enclosures, and at least four of the cubs unable to walk — a situation NCPCA’s senior inspector called “soul-destroying.” Conservationists say the situation at Pienika Farm is not an isolated incident, and animals are likely languishing in poor conditions around the country every day, fueled by South Africa’s thriving captive lion industry.