Be aware

Hey again! =) As it happens from time to time, I didn’t make it anymore yesterday. We had a very nice girls evening with a lot of hard laughing, hardcore singing and dancing.

Yesterday was enrichment day again, so I brought paper boxes to the lions. This time, we added mixed herbs to the hay and oooh yess they loved it! They rolled around and played and had a really good time. I will never get bored watching the cats playing with their enrichment. They always look so happy =)

In the afternoon, we worked for the new tiger enclosures. The tigers will arrive so soon and it’s gonna be an awesome experience! But now, time flies and still a lot of things need to be done before they arrive. Some of the tigers that arrive next week have never felt grass under their paws or seen a tree in their lives. They stay in very small enclosures (Their indoor area is the size of two Transport boxes! Which is far too small for tigers of around 320kg each!) In their new enclosures at Lionsrock, they will feel make a whole lot of beautiful new experiences, as being able to hide between trees. Those trees were subject of our work yesterday afternoon. The animal keepers cut big branches out of the trees and we had to collect them and put them onto the tractor so they could be carried away. You may ask yourself, why cutting the branches when the tigers want to hide between the trees? Especially in the first weeks after their arrival, it’s very important to monitor them well, in order to understand their behaviour, make sure that they are well and improve their situation if they are not. So it’s important that the tigers are visible. Thus, the trees are a little bit cut now.

Today was a day off, since it was public holiday. We slept in and went on our rounds. I stayed wich Andy and Simona for pretty much the whole afternoon and it was really interesting to observe them for this long time span. Andy was very active, playing, rolling around and roaring. She is in heat now and is very restless and clinging. Simona was clamer, but as time was passing, she became more interested in what I did and she was very happy when I gave her the paper back of my note pad. She rolled around, tore it into pieces and had a lot of fun. As the sun went down, it got chilly and I went home. Now I’m sitting here with my shiny, coconutty face. I got sunburnt again – so coconut oil will turn red into brown – hopefully.

So.. I promised to tell you more about big cat issues…this part will not be so shiny and happy and playful. It’s actually incredibly sick what people are doing to those wonderful animals…Can’t imagine how someone can do such things.

A lot of the cats at Lionsrock were born in captivity, living in far too small cages and trapped on concrete floors behind iron for their entire lives. A number of them bred for breeding or worse, the most inhuman „canned hunting“ business. Too many big cats are suffering all over the world. For Paws is an Animal Welfare Organisation, originally founded in Austria, situated in 10 countries, to help suffering animals. They brought the big cats to Lionsrock, which is their Sanctuary and provides them the best environment and care possible. Many of them need to learn how it feels to walk on grass, some of them need to find a way to trust humans. All of them need our help and understanding and this means to give them back their lives and their dignity.

What is canned hunting?
There are Lion breeding farms (there you can also go to volunteer, so take care where you decide to go!!) that breed lions. The cubs are used for photo tourism, so they got as little food as possible, in order not to grow bigger fast (since tourists prefer small, cute animals to take pictures). Due to misfeeding and thus the lack of important vitamins and minerals, some lions will never get as big as a real, healthy lion. Their hind legs will forever be shorter and they suffer diseases due to the lack of calcium. When the lions get older and lose their „cuteness“, they are simply being killed or even used for canned hunting. They are sold for huge sums – well, their trophy. You can even book a guaranteed trophy online, just check it out on Google. So you go out there, with your gun and a hunter who will kill the lion if you (partially) miss your target. I think I don’t have to tell you how cruel this is. Maybe if you read this, you think „oh that’s awful“, you think shortly about how sick that is, but then..you forget. Because it’s easier that way. And because it’s so far away. Not in your world. Not existing. But people! This really exists! I will never forget it because it’s in this world! It’s hard to do anything against it, since this form of tourism is economically very interesting. Check it out online, for 20’000 Euros you can get a really pretty lion head to decorate your room with!

But…Australia for example is the first country which banned the import of trophies. That’s where we have to start! When people go to Africa to get trophies but they cannot take them home, this will certainly stop some of them! What we need are legislations that forbid the import of trophies. Of course this is not the only problem..

Zoos run out of space for their animals and still breed them (what is more attractive than having cubs and little animals in the zoo?) and so rescue centers run out of space, too. What would be needed is the cooperation between circus, zoos, vets and animal protection organisations. But that’s a long way to go…Zoos hate animal protection organisations, and the latter hate zoos. We should stop thinking in little squares and think more of the welfare of the animals.

I could write the whole night about that topic..but let’s stop here. You made it, thank you, dear reader 🙂

You find a lot of information about animal welfare, legislations, canned hunting and photo tourism online if you are interested. Just take care – what people tell you is not always the truth!

In my next blog I will tell you the stories of some of the animals here at Lionsrock. I’m glad they have made it and live here now. I see them walking on grass, roaring, playing and rolling around. And I see how humans take care of them. I admire all the workers, animal keepers and managers and all the staff here. They live for their work and they work for animals‘ lives.

Huh how sentimental! But that’s what happens when you actually see it with your own eyes =)
Good night people! And don’t forget what you’ve just red 🙂 Just don’t 🙂

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