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LION RESCUE & REHABILITATION

Currently there 1000's of lions living in canned-hunting facilities throughout South Africa, which are predominantly stocked by the 'cub-petting' trade. Majority of these facilities are over-stocked, with lions living in cramped and horrendous conditions... some with as many as 25 lions in a 50mx50m enclosure!

We're currently erecting semi-wild camps of up to 50 Acres each, which is enormous compared to what the lions have had to live in. The lions will be undergo their rehabilitation in our safe sanctuary setting, starting out in smaller camps, to familiarise themselves with their new surroundings.

As these lions have been captive bred (most of which are still very young), they are completely tame and familiar with human interaction. In the petting trade, cubs are generally taken away from their mothers at around 3 weeks old and will never see her again. Humans (usually paying guests) are used as ‘surrogate mothers’ to the cubs. This is not natural and due to this interaction from such a young age, these lions will probably never be able to be released back into the wild again.

The aim of this project is to rehabilitate these lions back into a safe, semi-wild environment, using the huge camps as semi-free-roaming areas for rescued lions to live out their years in a more suitable and natural environment. They will be provided with the best possible lives in areas over 1000 times bigger than their previous ‘cages’!

They will be housed in smaller enclosures and reintroduced to the larger camps on a daily basi. This is referred to as bush-schooling. After the rehabilitation period, the lions will be transferred to the large camps permanently in structured prides of 7 lions per camp.

You’ll be given training in how to practically assist and will work closely with the field-staff to really make a difference.

WORKING WITH THE WOLVES:
The project also deals with wolves that have been rescued from the pet trade. These wolves are usually completely domesticated because of living in their unnatural environment. There is currently one male and one female in the sanctuary

This section of the sanctuary is in an 'experimental' stage where we will try to train these domesticated wolves to help in the efforts against poaching of the game animals. If this initial training process is successful, more wolves will be rescued and added to the ‘team’.

It's also possible that if many wolves are rescued, they may be returned to Canada, which is their natural homeland

EXAMPLE OF A TYPICAL WEEK ON THE RESERVE:

DAY 1:

  • 06h00 - Head out to lion enclosures to meet the lions and familiarise them with you. As they are captive bred and still used to humans, they are still very excited in the mornings and need a lot of attention and affection in the mornings. This calms them down and gets them in the right mind frame to head out into bush. If they were still overexcited, they could get lost or injured by other animals if they run to far from the group. Full safety and guidance briefing on behaviour and characteristics of each lion.
  • 07H00 - Walk with lions and experieced guide, to explore surroundings and socialise the lions with the bush environment. This is referred to as ‘bush schooling’.
  • 12H00 - Lunch in the bush with the lions while they rest.
  • 15H00 - Walk back to sleeping boma with the lions and the guide.
  • 17h00 - Return the lions to the sleeping area and feed them, give them water, etc.
  • 18H00 - Return to the base camp for dinner, relaxing and sleep.

DAY 2:

  • 06h00 - Head to wolves enclosure to meet and familiarise them with you. Full safety and guidance briefing on training schedule.
  • 07H00 - Walk the wolves, training and tracking exercises.
  • 12H00 - Lunch
  • 15H00 - Walk the tracking hound and assist with training
  • 17h00 - Return to base and feed the wolves and the tracking hound.
  • 18H00 - Return to the base camp for dinner, relaxing and sleep.

DAY 3:

  • 06H00 - Prepare the morning feeds for all the animals.
  • 07H00 - Feed all the animals that are part of morning feed (the adult lions and other animals). Then Lion camp cleaning and maintenance & checking that there is sufficient fresh water for them.
  • 12H00 - Lunch.
  • 13H00 - Source food for lions, wolves and other animals.
  • 17H00 - Feed and water all the animals.
  • 18H00 - Return to the base camp for dinner, relaxing and sleep.

DAY 4:

  • 06H00 - Head out on the anti poaching boundary check and also assist with building new camps for the lions.
  • 12H00 - Lunch.
  • 13H00 - Sweep the roads for foot prints. (The sand pathways around the reserve need to be swept in order for the anti-poaching patrols to notice any new footprints). This will be followed by general reserve maintenance.
  • 18H00 - Return to the base camp for dinner, relaxing and sleep.

Every second night you’ll do a night drive to check for local predators.

All volunteers will assist in anti poaching duties. There is always a threat of poaching, especially to the white lions. This will not be dangerous for you, but is very valuable to lion protection efforts. Volunteers will also watch cameras at night and listen for any foreign noises.

The above will rotate everyday and volunteers do equal days on the different duties.

Apart from the lions and wolves, you may have plenty of opportunity to see some or all of the great variety of species living on the Reserve: Giraffe, Eland, Leopard, Kudu, Hyena, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Gemsbok, Ostrich, Impala, Duiker, Steenbok, Wild Dog, Aardwolf, Serval, Caracal, Black-backed Jackal, Bat-eared Fox and Crocodile!

You'll not only see some extraordinary sights, but you'll also learn a great deal about African Wildlife - and make a difference in the process! Your role and the types of work/activities you are given may vary depending on your skills, and what is required of you.

PLEASE SUPPORT US IN OUR ENDEAVOURS. EVERY AMOUNT HELPS THE CONTINUED WORK WE DO.