A French lion saved from South Africa’s fatal canned hunting industry

Who is Mario?

Mario is a beautiful male lion. In 2010, FOUR PAWS was able to rescue the lion siblings, Mario and Marion, from a fate in the South African lion industry – literally at the last second. The two lions, male and female born on 28th August 2006, came from a French zoo near Toulouse and were to be sold to a South African purchaser. It came to light that these lions were under threat of becoming the victims of canned hunting practices.

FOUR PAWS immediately informed the zoo and authorities about the findings, and the sale was subsequently stopped. Mario and Marion were brought to LIONSROCK big Cat Sanctuary where they found their final refuge.

Mario is a beautiful lion male who does what males do, patrolling his territory and having stand offs with the males nearby.

About canned hunting

South Africa is an extremely popular tourist destination for both nature lovers and hunters. Every year, thousands of hunters from Europe and the United States travel to the region for 'trophy hunting' and bring home dead animals to display on their walls as souvenirs. Nearly all wild species are available for trophy hunting – even protected species like elephants – it's just a question of the animal's price-tag.

Lions are bred on nearly 300 farms for trophy hunting in South Africa. They are usually reared by hand and become accustomed to humans. Between 2000 and 2017 almost 12,000 lion trophies were exported to all other countries.


  • Mario was born in August 2006
  • He came form France
  • Arrived at LIONSROCK: March 2009
  • Has a sister, Marion
  • Rescued from canned hunting