Showing posts with label South Africa. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Africa. Show all posts

Sunday 22 August 2021

Cool way to get up close and personal with wild lions

NEWS AND COMMENT - HARRISMITH, SOUTH AFRICA: The Glen Garriff (GG) lion sanctuary is a non-profit organisation in South Africa which currently takes care of 77 lions which opened for business in 2002. The lions live their lives in safety and security at the sanctuary. The non-profit has social media accounts through which they raise most of their money. Their stated mission is to "love, protect and preserve the magnificent lions in our care."

Lion experience cube at GG lion sanctuary
Lion experience cube at GG lion sanctuary. Photo: Suzanne Scott (presumed) via Caters News.

The director (and a photographer) of this non-profit company, Suzanne Scott, 53, has a cage which she uses to get up close and personal with lions when she photographs them. She is using this cage to allow paying customers to her sanctuary to do exactly the same thing. And she's photographed the lions and humans interacting. 

They are interesting photographs and my immediate reaction is that this is a good idea. How else do you get so close, in safety, to a genuine wild lion? And the bars are wide enough to allow a camera to be used to photograph these fabulous cats at very close range. It would be a great opportunity for an amateur photographer to get some interesting photographs. I am sure that there are strict rules though. There is still a potential for harm.

It seems social media has spread this idea to the world rather late in the day because Suzanne Scott said: "We have been offering this experience almost 2 years now and the safety of both our guests and big cats is the top priority. "

The cage originally came from a German photographer who visited regularly. They adapted the cage for customer use by making it into a "lion experience cube". A German TV company had used a plexiglass cube to film the lions and I guess they got the idea from them.

The cube is regularly checked to make sure that it is safe and that it can carry the weight of a lion or lions who jump on top of it which they appear to enjoy doing as it provides a nice vantage point.

The GG lion sanctuary is in the process of rescuing lions from a closed down zoo in the Middle East and are expected to bring another 17 lions into the sanctuary soon.

The cube is another nice source of income for them. It looks like it is an excellent idea because it benefits both the customer and the lions who are stimulated by its presence. It adds a bit of colour into their lives. It's called environmental enrichment in the domestic cat world.

Saturday 26 June 2021

Weird cat-like creatures found in South Africa in 2017. What were they?

Back in January 2017 it was reported that bizarre cat-like creatures had been found behind a cupboard in a home in north-western South Africa. The photograph shows us that they are indeed bizarre-looking. But what is equally bizarre, for me, is that there was no follow-up story telling us more about these creatures. Sometimes I believe that they were a prank. A photo-editing exercise to jazz up the news on a quiet day. You know how people are taken in my stories of weird creatures.

Weird cat-like creatures found behind cupboard in South Africa
Weird cat-like creatures found behind cupboard in South Africa. Image in public domain.

Were they domestic cats bred by somebody in the home? They might be a hybrid cat which looks a bit like an Oriental Shorthair. The very slender body and large ears points to the fact that they were Oriental Shorthair siblings but that's a wild guess.

The news media described them as 'half-rat, half-cat' creatures. I guess I can go along with that description. In the photograph they appear to be wet and black. What is sad is that when they were discovered 4 of them were killed immediately and the remaining 2 were taken to the SPCA to be investigated. They believe that they were an unusual cat breed but they didn't report back to the public via news media.

And to kill 4 of the 6 is ridiculous. It was obviously done out of fear and ignorance. But they were living creatures and I presume they were sentience animals and therefore you don't just kill them because you're frightened. You do your best to do the right thing which is to gently investigate and protect them if you can.

It's a very mysterious story which needs to be cleared up. The point is though that the world does not produce weird and wonderful new creatures that have never been seen before. Perhaps, you might find a weird creature in the deep darkness of the ocean which has never been seen before. But you don't find an animal behind your cupboard in South Africa that is entirely new to the world! Therefore, this is an animal that already exists and it does not look like a rat but it looks more like a cat.

The best guess is that these were young, black, Oriental Shorthair cats or an example of clever photoshopping. If anybody has information about this find, please write a comment to enlighten the world!

Monday 28 September 2020

Feral cat feeders cannot let their cats down by stopping

NEWS AND OPINION: Sometimes, kind people who feed feral cats start doing it accidentally. Perhaps they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is how Pauline Tribe and Rose Magic of Durban, South Africa started. Pauline said something which brings home one of the underlying problems (if that is a fair description) of feeding feral cats. You can't stop because once you start the cats rely on you for feeding them and you cannot let them down at that point. If you start you have to continue because you take responsibility and the cats rely on you. It is as if you become their owner (guardian).

Pauline and Rose. Photo:

It is a self-imposed situation born out of an emotional connection with the cats and a desire to help because some people cannot walk by and ignore vulnerable animals. And they cannot stop for the same emotional reasons.

This is a good thing because it provides a constant source of motivation and there's no doubt this is needed because both Pauline and Rose get up at 2:30 AM every morning and have done so for the last 10 years to feed the cats! The total number of cats fluctuate but it is more than 70. They finish feeding by 7:30 AM and then go to work. It is quite amazing when you think about it. They both work and spend half the night feeding cats.

They also take in some cats and care for them at home. These cats are sick or injured in some way. After they've done that they prepare the food and water for the next morning. They get to bed by about 10 PM, said Pauline.

They first started when they were walking down the promenade on the beachfront and saw four or five cats crying for food. They popped into the local supermarket and got them some biscuits. They ate them up eagerly and so they decided to carry on feeding them. She said that "we were in the wrong place at the wrong time". She's joking but there is a hint of an admission in that statement that this pair of kind ladies started a long journey of caring for unwanted animals which is a burden to them in one respect. There can be no doubt about that. They have to do it because, as mentioned, they can't stop on an emotional level. But there's no doubt that on occasions they must feel that they wish that they could stop.

There are other issues. What do the other residents think about what they're doing? I think they are fantastic and long may they go on doing it but there are some people who strongly dislike the feeding of feral cats for various reasons. They may dislike the people who feed feral cats and therefore Pauline and Rose may have some enemies. So despite their kindness and decency they may have acquired people who dislike them. That is hardly a reward their efforts.

Source of news: These are my thoughts.

Saturday 3 March 2018

Tourism Operators Should Not Include Abuse to Captive Bred Lions in Their Packages

Today I have been told by Kitty Block, the president of the Humane Society International, that tour operators are sending tourists to South Africa in package deals which include visiting captive bred lions. Sounds normal? No, not for the lions.

These lions are bred to entertain people. They are suffering for the enjoyment of people. They live in small enclosures. They are cared for improperly. They are fed poorly. They cannot express their natural behaviors. They are used for the pleasure of tourists. And when this abuse is done they are sent to hunting ranches where they are killed by pseudo-hunters who think that they can be macho men by shooting a captive lion with nowhere to go. These poor lions suffer a miserable life and all for the entertainment of people. Lions should be majestically roaming the Serengeti. Not this.

Captive lion bred to entertain tourists in South Africa. Photo: Humane Society International.

Their entire life cycle in a cycle of cruelty, Kitty Block informs us. The cubs are taken from their mothers when days old to...guess what, entertain people. People love to handle lion cubs. They want to pet them and stroke them like domestic cats. They want to be photographed with them. They want to take a selfie of themselves with a sweet, cute lion cub. For these lion cubs it will be the beginning of a journey of misery and ending in a cruel death at the hands of a stupid hunter in canned lion hunts.

Juvenile lions are forced to "walk with lion" activities while adults are killed for their body parts and/or trophy hunting. The mother of these cubs face great suffering in a life of constant breeding to repeat the vicious cycle initiated by businessmen in South Africa.

I urge all tourism operators to take heed of what is going on with lions in South Africa and to ensure that their tour packages do not include activities regarding captive lions for the sake of their welfare for the sake of morality. It is time for people to live in harmony with wildlife. It is time to stop abusing animals for commercial profit. And tourists should ask the tour operator what's included and refuse any package that includes the above-mentioned cruelty.

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