Lion Rescue Initiatives


Cape Lion Rescue

On our quest to find the closest genetic relative to the Cape Lion, a shocking discovery was made: the canned hunting industry. Aquila Private Game Reserve in Cape Town, South Africa, in partnership with the Animal Rescue Centre A.R.C, passionately stand against canned hunting and actively combat its practice at every opportunity. Through our ongoing lion rescue operations, all the lions at Aquila have been rescued from this cruel and unethical industry.

What is Canned Hunting?

Canned hunting is a controversial and unethical practice involving the hunting of captive-bred wild animals in confined or controlled environments. These animals are typically bred and raised for the sole purpose of being hunted by paying trophy hunters. 

Unlike genuine wildlife conservation efforts, canned hunting provides little to no ethical or fair chase elements, as the animals are often confined in small spaces, making them easy targets for hunters. This practice raises significant ethical and moral concerns, as it exploits animals for profit and pleasure, undermining the principles of conservation and wildlife protection.

Lion Sanctuary

Here at the animal rescue centre, we are committed to addressing the issue of canned hunting by providing a compassionate solution. We recognise that separating cubs from their mothers at birth and raising them by hand leads to irreversible human dependency. To address this challenge, we have established a generous reserve area at ARC dedicated to the welfare of these captive-bred lions.

Our lion rescue wildlife sanctuary prioritises the well-being of rescued lions who can never be released into the wild due to their reliance on human care. ARC have created a free-roaming habitat that exceeds leading South African conservation requirements, offering them a safe and enriching environment where they can live out the rest of their lives in well-deserved freedom and peace.

The Formation of ARC

Word quickly spread that ARC was had established an ideal sanctuary for hurt, endangered or abused animals in the Western Cape. Soon, another group of lions found refuge at our  reserve. However, integrating them with the existing pride proved impossible. This challenge birthed the positive outcome of A.R.C (Aquila’s Wildlife Rehabilitation & Rescue Centre), a Section 21 company supported and recognised by the “Campaign Against Canned Hunting”.


Lions in South Africa

KINGDOM: Animalia

PHYLUM: Chordata

CLASS: Mammalia

ORDER: Carnivora

FAMILY: Felidae

SUBFAMILY: Pantherinae

GENUS: Panthera

SPECIES:  Panthera Leo

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What Happened to the Cape Lion?