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WATCH: Born Free’s animated short reveals the painful reality of ‘Instagram lions’

By on Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Ad agency Engine have partnered with the Born Free Foundation to produce a short heart rendering film exposing the “real circle of life” for lions in South Africa – Warning you will need the tissues for this one


‘The Bitter Bond’ tells the story of a lion and a keeper, who at first, seem the portrait of real happiness. The film relies on misdirection, the viewer learns to trust the keeper before her true intentions are revealed in a shocking twist ending. “It’s this betrayal of our nurturing instinct that we thought would be most shocking and impactful for people, creating a film that stays with you long after you’ve watched it,” Engine Creative James Hodson says.

Most people are unaware of limited life many of South Africa’s lions experience, with at least 70% of lions e born in captivity bred for tourists to hug and take photos with.

When the lions grow too big for cuddles they’re sold to trophy hunters and shot in ‘canned hunting’ facilities. They are never truly free.

“The Bitter Bond tells the shocking story of the relationship between lion cubs and their handlers,” said Paul Jordan, Executive Creative Director, Engine Creative. “The film is cleverly designed to work in two ways. Firstly, to make tourists think twice before handing over money for selfies with lion cubs. Secondly, to get everyone to sign Born Free Foundation’s petition to get the South African government to end this great betrayal and finally put a stop to canned hunting.”

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