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Free Lioness or Hunter's Trophy? UPDATED

SOUTH AFRICA | Saturday, 20 July 2013 | Views [1714]

UPDATE: Sufficient funds were raised & Alexandra flew to South Africa to make a documentary about Serabie's release to a protected wildlife sanctuary there & to raise awareness on the sick 'sport' that is canned hunting. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who has helped make this possible & also to Canadian Broadcasting Corp for supporting the story. Serabie is now in her new home although it was heartbreaking to leave the others to their fate. We need to get this practice banned! (Sept '13)

Back in January this year I started a six week volunteer programme in South Africa, primarily working with Vervet monkeys. Unusually, we also had 5 lion cubs in our care. Normally the farm would not keep predators but these lion cubs were going to be euthanized unless temporary care could be found. We watched as the four siblings (Mufasa, Simba, Kiara and Nala) and one smaller orphan (Serabie) flourished under our care. Going from those first wobbly steps to pouncing on you and wanting to play, it was a rare opportunity and privilege to spend time observing their development first hand. The siblings were to be rehomed in the Copenhagen zoo. Not, perhaps an ideal home for these African lions, but at least they would be looked after and hopefully educate people on the need to preserve our wildlife. The fate of Serabie remained something of a mystery.

Volunteers come and go, some have previous experience whilst others are completely new, both to Africa, its wildlife and volunteering. The arrival of Alex from Montreal, Canada was observed with some bemusement and I have to say the bets that she wouldn’t last longer than a week definitely outweighed those for her staying the full six weeks. Coming from the highly sanitised western world straight into a farm, miles from anywhere and equipped with only the basic necessities was a complete culture shock. The dirt, lack of ‘civilisation’ and monkeys leaping around you, happily using you as both a toilet and a play mate is not everyone’s idea of fun. Alex found her sanctuary with the lion cubs and dedicated her time to their care.

Serabie, an orphan whose siblings had been eaten by their mother, certainly pulled on our heart strings. She was so much smaller than the others and somehow so vulnerable. You couldn’t help but love her. For Alex, Serabie became the reason to get up each day and soldier on, and without doubt that little cub changed her life. Back in Canada Alex found out that Serabie is destined for canned hunting. Basically this means that rich trophy hunters are prepared to pay thousands of dollars just to shoot, in this case, a lioness. If you are reading this and your emotions have been even vaguely stirred, then please help us save this little cub who has already been through so much.

Alex has fought hard to find a solution and has found a reserve who will take Serabie where she will live in freedom with two other lions her own age and have the opportunity to be a mother herself. The only hiccup in this plan is that the Serabie’s owner insists on a sale – to buy her freedom, or otherwise.

We are struggling to raise that money and need the help, no matter how small each contribution, from anyone and everyone who would like to give Serabie a chance of freedom. It is sad that callous people will happily pay out such vast sums to shoot a lion and good-hearted people must struggle to find the money to save her.

A documentary will be made on saving Serabie but we need help to raise the money to free her first. Please have a look at Alex’s website http://www.haricot.ca/project/sauver-serabie (change to English at top of page if needed) and please, please help us reach our target. If we do not, the website will automatically return your money to you and Serabie will be shot. Thank you.

11th August - thank you to those who have given us an extension until the end of this month. 

Tags: appeals, help, hunters, lioness, lions, serabie, south africa


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