Discovery Networks International to Air Trophy Hunting Doc 'Blood Lions'

The killing of Cecil the Lion at the hands of an American dentist made headlines this summer.

The company acquired the film, which premiered at the Durban film festival, from PBS Distribution and will air it after the killing of Cecil the Lion put the spotlight on the topic this summer.

Discovery Communications' Discovery Networks International unit said Monday it plans to air the hour-long trophy-hunting documentary Blood Lions in the wake of the controversy surrounding the killing of Cecil the Lion.

The doc "takes viewers on a revealing journey inside South Africa’s lucrative trophy-hunting industry, most recently sparking global controversy around the killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe," the company said. It will first air on a majority of Discovery Networks International’s factual channels across more than 200 countries and territories starting in late September.

The company acquired Blood Lions from PBS Distribution. The doc follows Ian Michler, a South African environmental journalist and safari operator, and Rick Swazey, an American hunter, on their undercover journey of the lion breeding and hunting industry.

"Discovery has an unrivalled history of impactful and imaginative animal documentaries, and we are particularly proud to bring this exceptional new film to a global audience," said Phil Craig, chief creative officer, Discovery Networks International. "Blood Lions, which premiered to standing ovations at the Durban International Film Festival, reveals telling details of a dark and deeply controversial industry. It's a gripping and brilliantly told story that needs to be shared."

“This film was made with one very simple objective — to do something for the lions of South Africa,” said director Bruce Young. “Most of them exist in appalling conditions, exploited at every stage of their lives. The team involved in this film wants to change this situation before it is too late. Even the people in [South Africa] do not know that lions are being bred for the bullet here — and that it is totally legal. We want to show the world what is going on, who is involved, the impact on the animals, and how much money is being generated by this industry.”

The doc was produced by Regulus Vision and the Wildlands Conservation Trust.

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