We appreciate that many visitors wanting to volunteer their time in Africa are looking for a special, meaningful experience in which they can contribute to a cause that speaks to their hearts. Unfortunately, numerous establishments in South Africa capitalise on volunteers’ goodwill and desire to help, and have been exposed for horrific malpractices, under the guise of ‘animal rehabilitation’.
The cuddle-to-kill (‘Blood Lions’) industry is as awful as it sounds: predator cubs are stolen from their mother and advertised to paying tourists as ‘orphans’ who need daily attention in the form of cuddling, playing, and bottle-feeding. Unsuspecting and well-meaning volunteers pay these establishments to spend a few months doing these activities – and go home naively believing they have saved a life. It could not be further from the grisly truth. The reality is that once these cubs grow too big to be handled, they are sold off to be shot in a caged area by a trophy hunter – or worse, left in squalor and starved, to eventually be sold for their bones. An official legal quota of as many as 800 dead lions, once handled by volunteers and tourists as cubs, was exported from South Africa, until critical action by the Global White Lion Protection Trust and a coalition of wildlife groups, forced the South African government to review the situation.
“At this critical turning point for the planet, we call on governments to lead by example by prohibiting trophy hunting imports and thereby place the regeneration of our living Earth at the centre of all decisions affecting our mutual future” – Linda Tucker
Unfortunately, many wildlife facilities offer this type of ‘volunteering’ experience for captive held animals, as it is extremely lucrative and requires very little oversight and very few costs, fetching a high price due to the ‘cuteness factor’ rather than offering an experience that is genuinely beneficial to the animals.
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Our project is ‘ecocentric’: It puts Nature first. We believe that the most meaningful experience we can offer is one that honours the White Lions as the rightful Kings and Queens of their endemic habitat, whilst also providing discerning visitors with an opportunity to deepen their relationship with themselves. Each of our LionHearted Leadership™ programmes designed by Linda Tucker, offers an experience that strikes this unique balance, as do our pre-approved groups, which come in reverence and support of the wellbeing of the White Lions flourishing in their Sacred Natural Site.
Click here to learn more about the different ways you can visit the White Lion Heartlands.
However, if you would still like to have a ‘traditional’ volunteering experience and are prepared to be highly discerning in support of wildlife, you are welcome to contact us to find out the few genuine South African wildlife rehabilitation facilities we endorse.