Ask questions when volunteering in South Africa
Research is key when volunteering with wildlife projects in South Africa. Farms or “sanctuaries” that offer interactions with wild animals should be avoided.
Every “sanctuary” or park that offers cub petting is entangled with the canned hunting or lion bone industry. There is no possibility to “release” lions into the wild. Zoos and nature parks worldwide are overcrowded with lions. There is no point in reproducing at such a high rate – except for the hunting and lion bone trade.
Ask the facility where the lion cubs will go and why they are being separated from their mothers. If you get a standard reply and all cubs seem to have been abandoned by their mothers, please refrain from volunteering there! Legitimate lion sanctuaries do not breed and have their male lions vasectomised!
Be a responsible Tourist
Please refrain from all interaction with lions, including but not limited to:
Be aware: breeding big cats is not only limited to lions. There are numerous occasions where you are offered to hug a tiger or walk with a cheetah instead. Let’s all contribute to responsible tourism and avoid all activities with wild animals!
Be a responsible tourist: do not pet, but protect!
Main image and image below courtesy of Stichting SPOTS