Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Lion and Tiger Cub Exploitation in Mexico

When you travel to a destination in Mexico, you're probably on vacation and looking forward to a relaxing time on the beach, sipping margaritas and eating some delicious Mexican food. Probably the last thing you'd expect to see is a lion or tiger cub. But in many tourist spots throughout Mexico, that's unfortunately exactly what you'll see. 

It seems the use of lion and tiger cubs as tourist attractions in Mexico has been around since at least the early 2000's (if not earlier) as far as my research can tell. They're appearing in popular Mexican tourist destinations such as Playa del Carmen, Cabo San Lucas, and Ensenada. Passengers debarking from cruise ships have reported seeing locals with small cubs in cages or boxes with signs advertising that you can hold or pet a cub for $20 to $25. They claim the funds go to either a local zoo or a wildlife sanctuary. This is highly doubtful, as one of the lion cubs had a wound on its nose and others have appeared to not be particularly well cared for. From what I've read on various forums and heard through fellow animal rights activists, the cubs are killed when they get too large and their meat is sold in the bushmeat industry. 

Please join me in protesting this horrific practice!

There are several things you can do and they're all quite easy. You can join the Facebook page that's been created to raise awareness about this issue:

You can also email major news outlets and ask them to investigate this story and bring it to the forefront of our awareness so this can be stopped. We must put pressure on Mexican officials and convince them that this practice must be stopped and laws put in place to protect animals. Both the lion and the tiger are endangered species. This is a critical time in their future, if they are to even have a future. Leading scientists believe that the wild lion will become extinct in as few as ten to fifteen years, and the tiger's future looks even more dire. We should be working diligently to save these species, not allowing them to be exploited. If we all join together, perhaps we'll be heard and this practice will be stopped. 

Please --- if you travel Mexico and see people with 
tiger or lion cubs --- do not give them money!!
Doing so only encourages the exploitation of these animals.

Mexico doesn't currently have laws in place to protect these animals. Let's put the pressure on them so laws are enacted to protect not only wild animals, but all animals in Mexico. Please contact the Mexican Ambassador and ask him to put laws in place. Here's his name, address and website address:

His Excellency Arturo Sarukhan
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20006

The U.S. Ambassador to Mexico is Earl Anthony "Tony" Wayne and his office email address is acsmexicocity@state.gov.

Here's the email addresses of some of the major media outlets. It's very easy to draft one email and copy it to all of the various agencies. We have to get the word out that this is not acceptable treatment of these animals.

Dateline: Dateline@nbcuni.com
60 Minutes: 60m@cbsnews.com
CNN: http://www.cnn.com/feedback/show/?s=storyidea
Fox News: newsmanager@foxnews.com
MSNBC: mediainquiries@msnbc.com
Dateline: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10285339/

Below are some images of tourists holding and petting lion cubs in Mexico. If you search on YouTube for "lion cubs Mexico," you'll find lots of videos that people have posted.

These animals belong in the wild (as shown below), not being used as a tourist attraction. 

Animals Matter.


  1. This is awesome...I luv your work....congratz....KIT

  2. I saw this when I was just recently in Mexico. It broke my heart. I am going to go ahead and write to whoever I need to. I wish PETA would do something, but to be honest, I don't have much faith in them.

    Thank you so much for caring for these poor cats.

    1. Surely you realize that PETA has no legal authority to shut these horrible outfits down - here in the U.S., much less in Mexico. Don't blame PETA. Blame the people exploiting cubs for profits and those who fork over money to take a picture.

  3. Hi,

    I was horrified when I went on a cruise and there was a little cub with its nose so cut up it looked like hamburger. I will help where I can. I love animals so much, especially any in the feline family.

    Is there anywhere else we can help? How about an on-line petition?

  4. Thank you for taking the time to share this information. I fear that too many of these beautiful creatures will die before the laws are changed. I truly believe that awareness can make a difference sooner. I will be sharing this information in any way that I can.

  5. So glad I came across your site. I have just returned to England from Cancun and saw a lion cub in Playa with a scratch on its nose. I was horrified and felt helpless to help the poor animal. I have been searching for sites to report this to and was pleased to come across yours. I will definitely be contacting the organisations you mentioned and also the Born Free organisation. The guy didn't like my questioning and eventually asked if I was going to help their "cause" and pay for a phot, when I said no, he promptly told me that when the lion gets too big, he'll shoot it! Trying to make me re-think I suppose by a guilt trip. I walked away thinking that he'll probably be doing the poor animal a favour after its short life of abuse. I cannot understand why some countries are still turning a blind eye to this sort of thing, my god, this is the 21st century, we have sent men into space, why is this still going on? It just makes me so sad.

  6. This is excellent! Thank you for the information! It's truly unfortunate to hear such activities are taking place, thanks for taking the step to write about it. I'll definitely be sharing this info. Keep up the great work.

  7. I work a major wildlife protection agency in Mexico and must say that there is hope guys. If anyone has been paying attention to the political situation in Mexico then you know that the cat was away far away and the mice played and played. Look at the facts and you'll see that everything as been stopped for 6 years. The whole country is has just gone back the old party. The one that ruled Mexico when Tijuana was still fun to party and shop.
    At a federal level everyone is bieng replaced. All real prosecutions are put through at federal level and so we on the front lines here in Mexico are poised waiting to talk to the new guys. Ok you say, what does obscure Mexican politics have to do with all this. Well first time in 6 years it looks like the federal law enforcement human resources will be free up since the official Govt. declared state of War will be lifted. And if you really want to get things done there is a great tactic. Everyone call these govt offices consecutively constantly all day everyday till they have to change numbers and do it again. That is their achilies Tendon. If I mispelt is because I've spoken spanish so long now I forgot how to write English, hha.
    Love all you guys fightin for change and justice.

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  17. Thank for posting this informative information. I recently returned from a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean and saw a lion cub being used in this way in Costa Maya. I have contacted the Carnival Cruise Line hoping they will use their influence to save these lions put a stop to this practice in the future. I have received a preliminary answer to my first letter and can now move up the chain of command. Do you know of any sanctuary that might be able to take in the lion or lions that are being used in the port of Costa Maya? Thanks, Jacqui'

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  35. I saw it too when I was in Mexico last month in 5th Avenue, Playa del Carmen :(

  36. This weekend in Ensenada
    very effective scam
    set up in a shopping center
    video playing on TV
    lots of pictures of people with pictures taken
    The guy spoke excellent English and said he was a volunteer. Buy his story started to not add up. Makes me sick. I finally left and cried when I realized what I was seeing. This looks like big business and right in the tourist section of Ensenada. This needs to be stopped. M. U.

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