Big game hunting is an increasing concern for many around the world, endangering the lives of some of the most incredible animals on Earth.
And now a worldwide campaign has been launched to save a rare lion about to be sold at auction and shot by trophy hunters.
The white lion called Mufasa was captured along with another baby, Soraya, when he was just a cub, three years ago.
Campaigners want to save Mufasa from potentially being victim to a hunter’s bullet and move him to a sanctuary, but according to reports South Africa authorities have instead announced he will be sold at auction.
Being infertile, Mufasa it is understood that his only value he would have is to be bought by a hunting company and then shot.
White lions are already under the microscope for conservationists, as there are only 300 left on Earth, with just 13 living in the wild.
So far over 200,000 people have signed the petition calling for authorities in South Africa to change their mind and save his life.
The petition, to South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, says: “Mufasa and Suraya are now three years old and are inseparable.
“Nature conservation officials refused permission for Mufasa to be relocated to a sanctuary, who offered to care for both Mufasa and Suraya for their natural lives, free of charge.
“Instead, the rehab centre was told telephonically that Mufasa will be auctioned to raise funds for the department.”
Wild for Life, the sanctuary where Mufasa has been cared for during the past three years – is raising cash to battle against the auction in court.
It wrote: “In the last few weeks we have seen and read extensively about what happens to lions in the industry.
“Mufasa has had a vasectomy and cannot be bred with. This means there is only one of two options left.
“The number of lion hunters are down and lions have been killed in high numbers for their bones to be exported to the East.”
And it continued: “Soraya and Mufasa are inseparable and it would be extremely traumatic for Soraya to lose her companion.
“She was in a terrible emotional state before they were united as cubs and even when moved to a bigger enclosure she was highly anxious when she woke up and couldn’t find Mufasa.”
Comedian and animal rights campaigner Ricky Gervais alerted his followers to Mufasa’s plight, tweeting: “Shame on the pathetic sadist who pays the money to shoot this animal, and shame on the snivelling coward who accepts the money too. Both worthless.”