Photo leads to triumphant rescue thanks to the astute folk with the Campaign Against Canned Hunting.
…a chain of events that saves two adorable lion cubs.
The above photo was taken somewhere in Spain and posted on Facebook. It was noticed by the unassuming warm woman sharing a cool drink on the Mugg & Bean patio with me… because she cared and acted the cubs are enroute to life, instead of death.
Her name is Linda Park. Chris Mercer (founder of the Campaign Against Canned Hunting) told me she was someone I had to meet. And he was right, Linda is the Johannesburg representative for CACH and doing marvelous work spreading awareness at monthly booths at prominent events and of course taking action.
Why are they on their way to lion sanctuary in South Africa?
And why did Nikela make a matching donation?
Franz sat next to me at our recent 4×4 training course. He has a young family. They’d recently visited a lion park nearby. The kids were excitedly waiting for their turn to pet the cubs. However, as they entered the cub petting area one of the cubs zeroed in on their two year old son locking him in that predator stare, for his wife excitement turned to fear and they turned around and left the park.
I asked Franz if he knew what happened to these cubs when they got too aggressive, too big? He of course didn’t have a clue… now he does.
Those cute cubs that you just want to cuddle and have your photo taken with are in serious trouble. Not only have they been taken from their mothers prematurely they are ruthlessly exploited. Once they get too feisty and no longer safe for petting they are sold off for a canned hunt.
What about the Luckiest Cubs?
Well after Linda spotted the photo of the four guys and the cub she notified CJ and Luis Monoz, the CACH representatives in Spain, and after quite the saga they found two misused cubs with a dismal future.
With that let’s continue the story directly from CJ and Luis:
“…. a woman was using lion cubs for picture taking all hours of the day, day after day, charging 10 euros per picture. She was keeping the cubs on a diet of only milk in order to keep them small.
We contacted Guardia Civil Seprona, (the Spanish Special Police Service for the protection of Nature), and they quickly responded. The woman had some papers indicating that she had purchased the cubs from a circus in France, but as she had no birth certificates for the cubs proving they were born in captivity, Seprona impounded the cubs…
After several weeks of phone calls to CITES, Customs, and Seprona offering to provide a permanent good home for the cubs, we finally found them by a stroke of good luck.”
The search for a suitable forever home began. Apparently there are more tigers and lions awaiting rescue then there are homes… sad but true.
When nothing turned up in Europe CACH looked in their own backyard, South Africa. There Kevin Richardson, the respected ‘Lion Whisperer’, who runs a unique lion sanctuary in Dinokeng kindly agreed to take the cubs.
You ever traveled internationally with your pet? It’s a bureaucratic nightmare to wade through the necessary red tape. Now consider what it might take to re-locate two lion cubs from Madrid to South Africa!
There are vaccinations to be given, clearances to be obtained from various authorities in both countries, CITES permits needed both for export and import, import and transport permits for SA, veterinary certificates, and the list goes on. Meanwhile the cubs must be weaned off their inadequate milk diet to make them strong and healthy.
CACH is employing a specialist wildlife freight brokerage company to handle the process to ensure that the relocation of the cubs takes place as smoothly and as stress – free as possible.
Why so much effort for two lion cubs?
You may ask why is CACH spending so much time, money and effort on two cubs in Spain when there are thousands of captive bred lions in SA.
Chris offers us three compelling reasons.
1. Because if CACH had not intervened those cubs would have been used as human playthings for as long as possible on a poor arthritic diet that would affect them for the rest of their lives, before suffering a miserable existence in a cage in a travelling zoo.
2. We may not be able to save all the lions in the world but CACH will make a world of difference to the lives of these two lion cubs. Kevin Richardson’s sanctuary must be just about the best place in the world for a lion that cannot live its life out in the wild.
3. Finally, should we not rescue them just because we can?
Chris is so right… we need to help because we can… and because it is the right thing to do.
Last we heard they were healthy enough to travel and had received the necessary clearances to do so.
If you were touched by this story consider sharing.
If you’d like to follow their journey to safety and make a donation please visit the Campaign Against Canned Hunting website or you can make a donation via Nikela simply noting you want the funds to go to the lion cubs. (100% of your gift via Nikela will go to help the lion cubs.)
[Nikela recently matched $500 donated by friends of CACH]
UPDATE [October 27, 2014] Cubs on their way to forever home in South Africa.