Monthly Archives: December 2015
2015 – What a year! The last day of the year is here, and looking back at everything that has happened, I nearly get overwhelmed. From the highest of high’s to the lowest of low’s – this year has taught us many valuable lessons and enriched our lives in so many ways! So let’s take a walk down memory lane.
We started 2015 in near desperation, we received bad news just before Christmas from the local government, who said we needed to put our sanctuary on hold for the next 6-8 months! With a lot of persistency and begging skills we managed to get 10 people from the Environmental Department (ED) and Cape Nature here to inspect the farm. With very thorough preparations and a lot of “UUMMF”, we passed with flying colours! The OK from ED came through within a couple of weeks, and then it was “only” Cape Nature left.
The first cat to arrive at Panthera Africa was our beautiful Neo that we rescued from the local animal welfare clinic. She was only a small kitten at the time, and I will always remember how she expressed her enormous gratitude with constant purring for the first 48 hours <3 She has grown into an incredible loving yet quite selective tomboy, and is a great link between the cats outside and the house. She still captures many hearts, and sometimes if you are lucky, she accepts your invitation to sleep in your bed 🙂
On the 4th of March THE email arrived, and our dream could finally come true – all approvals and permits were in order and we could FINALLY bring the animals home!! In the early morning of the 16th of March a big trailer drove in to Stanford, and Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary finally became complete! 15 beautiful majestic animals found their way to their new home, and everyone involved could take a deep sigh of relief and contentment – WE MADE IT!!! All the hard work of setting up outside, and getting things in order, finally paid off! I still remember lying in bed that evening and Lizaene and I couldn’t really understand it all – She asked; have the last 48 hours really happened? Are they all really here?!”. A good pinch in the arm and a peak out the window was necessary just to make sure we were not dreaming <3 A big special thank you to everyone that was involved during the relocation – both two and four legged friends – this was truly a day where magic happened!
Our aim was to open to the public on Pardus’s birthday – the 28th of March, but as the days and weeks went by we saw that some of the animals needed more time to settle in. So the opening day was moved to the 3rd of April, which was Good Friday – and what a Good Friday that was J With a small and lovely group, we gave our very first educational visit, and the sanctuary was truly open! Since that day we have been blessed with over 1500 excited tourists, and we thank you all for your kind words, recommendations and most importantly – helping us to spread the word and educate others about animal welfare and how these animals should be respected and treated.
We have had the great pleasure of hosting our two first animal communication courses, which has opened up a new world to us all. We are amazed and deeply grateful for the knowledge and “tools” we have learnt, and how it has and is helping us to better understand and improve the lives of all the animals here. The feeling of being able to truly connect with your soul friends is beyond words to describe, and we are all excited to continue this road together – animals and humans side by side. We will definitely have more courses in 2016, so stay tuned for the new dates!
October arrived and a beautiful little black girl entered our home – Kira is our latest addition to the Panthera Africa pride, and she has stolen all our hearts and souls <3 A more kind, loving and well-meaning dog is hard to find <3 Not knowing her exact breed, we are watching with excitement how she is growing and turning into an incredibly beautiful and clever lady! Soon it’s time for the second Puppy School with more fun for both us and her 🙂
All the animals have truly prospered over the last nine months, and looking back at pictures it is amazing to see the difference! The most incredible and inspiring change that has happened is with dearest Obi! He has risen and grown far beyond our wildest dreams – both in size, condition and health, and off course with his amazing VERY-fast growing mane! Obi, you are a true inspiration and I often look at you and think – anything and everything is possible J To hear your roars at night time warms our hearts and fills us with such respect and admiration! Well done, our kind-eyed man!!
We have had the pleasure of meeting so many amazing people over the past year, and I personally want to thank all of you! Especially to Annie, Andreas, Berna and Lynsey that has walked a long path with us – I hope you feel it when we say thank you from the bottom of our hearts! When Lizaene and I got the idea of Panthera Africa two years ago, we were a bit nervous if we were going to get enough volunteers as we are one of very few places that are a true sanctuary and do not breed nor offer cub petting. However, we are so incredibly happy to say that we have had over 70 amazing volunteers over the last year, and that we are fully booked till the middle of February! The consciousness of the tourism and volunteer industry is changing rapidly, and we are so proud to be a part of this change. It makes us truly happy that people are understanding what animal welfare is all about, and that we are opening our eyes and starting to look at the world from the animals’ point of view! This is the way for a prosperous future – mutual respect and love for everyone and everything around us.
So to everyone that has crossed our path the last year – THANK YOU for making Panthera Africa to what it is! THANK YOU for respecting the animals and helping us to take care of them! THANK YOU for sharing love, fun and laughter, and also some tears at times <3 We are all part of this pride, and everyone is playing a vital role, whether being a visitor, volunteer, technician, animal communicator, staff, founder, animal – we all make Panthera Africa the paradise it is!
So going into 2016 we have many wishes and dreams, and I hope you all want to join us in making them come true! Our first corporate team building will take place in January, and I wish for at least 12 events during 2016 J Our enrichment camp is finally finished so we will open up for enrichment visits, which I know many of you are excited to see J We have made many amazing connections with large and inspiring organisations, so we excitedly picture our first big rescue mission and the building of some new rescue camps J Education is the core of our project, and we are excited for all the children and schools that already have been here. Next year we aim to become partner with many local, national and international schools and make nature and animals part of the curriculum J And may our dream come true on taking the first big steps towards becoming a solar driven sanctuary J
As many of you know, our lives took a real knock this December when our gorgeous leopard boy, Zorro, passed away. I still see and feel him on his platform, and I still hear his lovely talks whenever I visit his enclosure. However difficult and heart-breaking this experience has been and still is, I feel that Zorro has showed me and all of us what true kindness, forgiveness and love is all about. Even though his time here on earth was way too short, he spent his time extremely well and touched many people. We have received a lot of messages from all over the world telling us how Zorro touched them – whether inspiring them to choose a career, or coming through difficult times, or giving them a meaning in life. Zorro gave us the taste of what life is all about – how to be in and value the present moment, and just feel the beauty and love that surrounds us.
So on that note I would love for all of you to take a minute, maybe even close your eyes, and think back to one moment when you were truly at peace and happy inside – whether with an animal or with another human or even alone in nature. Take your time and truly feel how your body felt and actually how you can remember and still feel that feeling inside. Take these feelings and carry them forward to every part of your life, and do everything you do with the intention of love inside. Try this every day, and you will see that change will start to happen <3 To all the volunteers, tourists, friends, family – everyone – that have been to Panthera Africa and taken part of this paradise, and to other people who have experienced other incredible moment, you have the power inside to be what you want to be! So let’s spread the love, and be the change we want to see! Let’s be the best version of ourselves and shine our light and love around us!
Lizaene and I feel deeply blessed to be here and be fuelled with magic from these animals every day, and we are excited to share 2016 with both old and new volunteers, tourists, friends and family, and we are very excited to welcome a new year with millions of opportunities and dreams waiting to be fulfilled!
Love and light,
Three years and one month ago I had a dream. My granddad that passed away that year and to whom I was very close to, came to me in my dream and told me that Mischief, Zorro’s mom, will have 2 cubs on the 30th of November. He told me that one of the cubs is a gift from him to me to always remember him by and find comfort with.
On the 30th of November, one month after my dream, Zorro and his brother Zian was born right in front of my eyes. As it was Mischief’s first litter and she was captive born and hand reared she didn’t know what to do. I helped her to get the little bags off them and held them so she could clean them. She trusted me and I even put them on her nipples to drink for the very first time.
Three days later Mischief rejected both of them and I took them in to hand rear. Zian, his brother died at 3 weeks of age on the 24th of December and even though I was devastated, Zorro gave me comfort and stole my heart all over again. From that day on Zorro has been a comforting and guiding part of my life and when I think of him I think of kindness and love….
As I sit here and write tonight I still struggle to understand what went wrong – I struggle to understand why my gift from above was taken away from me so soon. I struggle to understand how it can be that you are with me one moment and 10 days later you are gone. I feel so responsible and even though you say I should not blame myself, my leopard boy, I still feel that I should have protected you from any harm.
Zorro, my bombompies, I do not know how to be without you, I do not know how to look at your tree and platforms and not feel my heart ache. I do not know how any day will become easier without having you close and around me…..
You sent me a clear message and I know that you have important spiritual work to do, I know that you are still with me and in my heart, and I know that you fold your paws around me and protect and love me, but I will everyday wish that I could turn back time …. Every day I will wish that I could save you and have you with us, and I will try every day to make you proud and to live my days with kindness.
Zorro, thank you for blessing me with love and guidance, and thank you for choosing me to be your friend and guardian. Thank you for being my bombompies and Lala’s friend, and we feel you close every single minute.
All my love – always and forever <3
Where do I start to write a blog like this, when my heart is breaking yet filled with so much love and gratefulness for having had the privilege to have been one of your best friends, Zorro?
One of my friends told me today “Life is pleasure. Death is peaceful. It is the transition that makes it difficult”, and I guess that is where I am right now – trying to make peace with that your physical form is never going to be with me again <3 You have been my rock, my buddy, my comfort and strength for so long, and even though I know you are still with in spirit, I really would have loved more time with you here, my bombompies <3
I feel that THANK YOU is what I want to say to you, Zorro – for all the things that you have brought to my life <3 Here are just some of them <3
Thank you for giving me the honor of your friendship, love and respect <3
Thank you for showing me what pure kindness and compassion is all about <3
Thank you for always filling me with strength, love and comfort <3 Always in your presence I feel my heart rate sink and my body and soul reconnecting to the present moment, and just being <3 I remember you telling me that this is what life is all about – human and animal, side by side, in respect and honoring of each other <3
Thank you for always being happy for seeing me and walking your loving slow yet excited walk towards me <3
Thank you for sharing your talks and beautiful heartfelt squeals <3 I am smiling here I am writing and that gorgeous sound, and as I now continue my tears are flowing for the longing of hearing it again <3 How I wish to just see you and hear that sound once more, Bombom <3
I feel you around me, my beautiful man, and I know you will be with me forever <3 During the last week of your journey here with us, you brought me to a higher level of consciousness and showed me that in spirit we are all connected <3 And for this I thank you deeply – for giving me the courage and strength to reach out, believing and understanding more about the beauty of Mother Earth and all living beings, and experiencing the power of the universe <3 I sat in your camp praying out loud with the wish to save you, and I am so sorry that this didn’t happen, but I understand that there are higher purposes and meanings with everything that happens, even though we not always understand it right away <3
I thank you for guiding me to greater harmony with and understanding of life and everything there is, and for the change in my perspectives <3 I will honor you by trying to guide the people the fall onto my path, and I will do it with a heart filled with Zorro-love <3
I honor and celebrate your life and your time here with us <3 I have been beyond the moon and back-lucky to have been with you every step of your life here, and for that I will forever be grateful <3 All our memories are rolling like a movie in my mind and heart, and I will every now and then, sit down and enjoy a movie date of you, together with you <3 I will tell your and our stories and spread your love further, and I will everyday try to climb to your level of kindness, honor, respect, compassion, and the ability to be right here and now <3 Through you and because of you and our journey together, I will do my best to become a better person <3
Sitting in your camp today, I felt you there so clearly, and I did as you told me; to close my eyes to see and feel you close – and there you were <3 sat next to Lizaene and myself by your favorite logs, before you climbed your tree and laid on your favorite platform, with your legs crossed, keeping an eye on all your Panthera Africa friends <3 You are the kindest being I have ever met, and thank you for sharing this with me! Thank you for showing me what gentleness, kindness and love is all about <3
I believe one of Zorro’s purposes was to show us pure kindness and compassion <3 So I ask everyone out there that is reading this, let’s honor and pay our respect to Zorro by showing each other and all living beings pure kindness and love <3 Let’s respect every living being, whether it is your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, friends or family, human or animal – let’s spread positive vibes, thoughts and actions <3 strive to be the best version of yourself <3 always choose love <3 do what is best for one another <3 show respect <3 BE KIND – just like our superhero Zorro <3
With all my love and kindness,