We Are All Connected
I feel we are all connected and when one of us is hurting, we are all hurting. So, I try to live my life in a way that helps us connect all over the world and help make everyone’s lives better.
Since, I have been a certified, licensed wildlife rehabilitator in Texas for many years; I am interested in other wildlife rehabilitation facilities around the world.
I contacted Cathrine Nyquist, who is the founder of Panthera Africa, a 2-year old “exotic cat” rescue in South Africa, because I was going to South Africa this month to research plants for my new book on health, healing and sustainable, organic growing methods.
Even though she had left for Norway by the time I arrived at the Big Cat Sanctuary, her volunteer Nina was so kind to show me around their facility, and tell me about their rescued cats. Most of the people who work at Panthera are volunteers.
What I’ve learned from meeting with rehabilitators in Africa is that there is an appalling problem with “breeders” who are deceptive about what they do, and also about what they do with the animals. I think it can be compared to the “puppy mills” we have in the US, (even though puppy mills mainly sell their puppies to people who want a certain breed, or to manufacturers who want to test their toxic products on animals).
Because there is such a market for these “exotic cats”, they are being bred for their babies, and these rare, beautiful animals are often kept in unbelievably cruel conditions. Most of them die from malnutrition, mistreatment, or they are sent to “shooting” camps, where people pay money to shoot these drugged-up, ill, fenced in, mistreated animals.
I bet we all know people who participate in this kind of atrocity. There is a “Safari Club” in just about every major city in the US. I’m certainly not saying everyone in a Safari Club does this kind of thing, but I am aware, that there are those who do participate in this kind of “sport.” (I would argue with the use of the word “sport” hunters frequently use when referring to hunting.)
Panthera was able to rescue some of these fortunate animals, many of which had eyesight problems (or were blind), or had horrible health problems stemming from the mistreatment, disgusting food and water they were given, and many other things.
Although, there are exceptions to how Panthera Africa receives their animals. Please make a note of this fact. Some of the animals do come from people who do have good intentions, loving hearts and simply can’t maintain their care any longer for various reasons.
Two of their lionesses (the youngest two, Lei-ah and Elsa) at Panthera Africa were raised at a game lodge. The owners of this game lodge really did have their hearts in the right place. They cared for the animals the best way they knew how, but they just didn’t have the knowledge that they needed to keep them healthy. The owners of the game lodge loved these girls very much, but they realized they didn’t have the necessary space needed to give these girls a safe home forever; so Panthera Africa stepped in and has taken the girls into their care. It really makes my heart so happy to know there are such wonderful people in this world.
The leopards, cheetahs, lions, tigers, etc. at this facility are in much better shape now than when they arrived. (The tigers are not from Africa, but they are imported and bred illegally for their body parts to sell for Chinese medicine. This rescue has some rescued tigers as well.)
Please share this story, so we can help stop the abuse of these animals.
It costs quite a bit of money to rescue these marvelous creatures, help them to heal and provide safe, life long homes. I hope in this way, we can begin to be a part of the solution.
One thing that strikes me as important, is that this place was started because the founder was “volunteering at a large cat breeding facility”. She thought she was doing a good and positive thing for the animals. However, when they shipped off her little lion cub without telling her, to be used (she found out later by investigation) at a fenced-in shooting facility for people who just wanted to kill them for trophies, she was overwhelmed with sadness.
After realizing the little lion cub that she had just worked with and grew to love was sent to this place, she became determined to help save these lovely animals. She created Panthera Africa, a fabulous facility to save them, provide medical attention, and homes. But a big part of Panthera Africa is to help educate people about these magnificent cats, what is going on in the world in regards to these animals and how they can help.
Please share this story.
Their website is: http://pantheraafrica.co.za.
There are video’s about them on you tube also. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tvO_DeHd0M
Join in the conversation!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject!