Most of the lions bred and raised in captivity in South Africa are destined for canned hunts. Canned hunting is where a captive-bred animal is set loose in an area to be shot with no fair means of escape — this can be due to either physical constraints (such as being fenced in a small enclosed space; or from being preemptively lured in or drugged) or mental constraints (being hand-raised by humans and effectively having all natural fear of mankind removed.)
Numerous lion breeding farms, many of which run out of South Africa and mask themselves as conservation-based sanctuaries or rescues, provide a steady supply of new stock animals for this purpose. To offset the high expense of raising and feeding these surplus lions, these parks offer cub petting — a very popular tourist attraction and lure for international volunteers which directly supports and funds the rapidly flourishing canned hunting industry.
All the while, tourists and volunteers continue to pay for the privilege, none-the-wiser of what their money is supporting or where the cubs they cuddle are actually going.
Please avoid any facility that offers cub petting, and educate friends and family on the truth of canned lion hunting.
For more resources on canned hunting and cub petting, check out the links on the resources page.