|LION AND BIG CAT CONSERVATION IN A LION SANCTUARY, NEAR BETHLEHEM||
Volunteer with Lions and other big cats in a highly-regarded sanctuary for mistreated lions. The sanctuary, run by an international animal welfare charity, is the largest of its type in South Africa. It offers a new home to big cats that have been abused, kept in cramped conditions or confiscated from hunters.
The interaction between lions and humans can be absorbing and as such, being close (but safe) to lions can be a moving experience. You will get to know the animals as individuals and assisting with research into their behaviour can be very rewarding.
A typical day starts with 2 hours of animal monitoring. You will either monitor the social interactions of a group or the interaction between two groups to see if they can be put together in the future. Dependant on the day of the week you will then help with the feeding of the predators which is when you recognize that despite being in captivity these are still wild animals, feeding provides the real sense of what your role is at Lionsrock; to create the most natural environment possible for these remarkable animals.
Afternoons are spent with building and/or implementing enrichment activities to enhance the lions life at Lionsrock. You will quickly find that like humans each have their own personality and what may work with one may not work with another.
You may also find yourself doing one of numerous activities to help the park including helping during educational school visits as well as tourist activities at the lodge that raise significant awareness and funds necessary for the long term success of Lionsrock.
These animals are placed within fenced surroundings with no chance of escape, hunters pay between 25,000 to 45,000 euro per head. The animals are bred at specialist breeding farms where lionesses produce a litter every 6 months rather than every 2 years as it is in the wild, losing their cubs within 3 days and the unnatural frequency of breeding leads to trauma and health problems.
The cubs are raised by hand without their mothers milk which can lead to bone deformations, respiratory problems, and digestive disorders - a life of suffering, and a tourist attraction for those keen to pet or even walk a lion. Many tourists and even some volunteer programs unknowingly support this cruel lion industry, despite their best intentions. Those involved in ‘canned hunting’ disguise the truth by calling what they are doing as animal or species protection.
There are more than 160 breeding farms in South Africa, in which more than 4,000 lions are currently threatened with being shot. This statistic becomes especially shocking when you consider there are only 3,000 lions living in the wild of South Africa. The South African government has attempted to prevent ‘canned hunting’ by including lions on the protection list. However, the lion industry is blocking this progress with a constant string of legal processes – leaving the lions being bred and hunted without any protection.
Vier Pfoten are fighting for the prohibition of ‘canned hunting’, commercial lion breeding farms and lion ‘patting’ offers. For now they have to rely on this project to support their petition and raise awareness of this issue so that others don’t unwittingly support this industry in the future.
Got any questions? Please email us:
Got any questions? Please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
|YOUR ACCOMMODATION AND TRAVEL|
You'll stay in comfortable, brand new
accommodation located at the heart of the sanctuary with other
volunteers and some staff. There is plenty of space to relax, to get
involved with cooking and even swimming in the on-site swimming pool. If
you don't fancy cooking, you can enjoy discounts at the lodge
You fly in to Johannesburg, where you will be met by our partner's cheery and friendly representative, Jolene. Jolene will take you up to the Sanctuary, a three hour drive from the airport.
To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.
AREA AND THINGS TO DO IN YOUR FREE TIME:
Bethlehem has a shopping mall and also provides nightlife with restaurants and bars. There are also numerous banks and cash machines, pharmacies, dentists and medical care.
Clarens is renowned for its arts and crafts and also has a good collection of restaurants and bars. Clarens also borders the Golden Gate National Park which is well worth a visit. Entry is free and there are walks and wildlife to be seen as well as a traditional Basoto Village Museum which costs just 50 Rand.
For those wishing to be more adventurous, there is the opportunity to go quad biking, plus white water rafting is available out of Clarens, as well as other activities.
Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your programme, please click here.
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