Monthly Archives: June 2017
I am in awe of Cat and Lizaene, and everything they do. They have put everything they have into PA and created this little paradise for animals and people alike. It can’t have always been easy along the way, but the every part has come together to make PA a truly inspiring place to be. There is something special happening on that farm in Stanford. It is almost instant; as soon as you arrive you feel this overwhelming wave of happiness. The people, the animals, the energy – it feels like home, however long you are there.
I don’t think I could ever say ‘thank you’ enough for my experience at PA. I learnt so much – both about the animals, and about myself. Each animal’s story is so powerful and it really opened my eyes to all the issues that animals face in South Africa and across the world. As a volunteer, it is a mine field – there are so many places that pretend to work for ‘conservation’ and call themselves a ‘sanctuary’ when in reality so many are part of the canned hunting industry or animal bone trade. I am so so grateful that my path brought me to Panthera Africa, where I can say that I gave my time to support true animal welfare. I worked hard; and whether it was picking up tiger poo, preparing meat for feedings, building lion houses or helping with tours, I really feel like I was valued and I made a difference to these animals lives…and that’s an INCREDIBLE feeling.
I didn’t expect when I first booked my flights to South Africa that my trip would change my life and I would leave a completely new person. There was one moment where I sat, talking with Pardus the leopard, and I realised that this was a moment of pure, overwhelming happiness. Surrounded by all these incredible animals, somehow everything else just melted away.
Thank you to the Panthera Pride for letting me become a part of your family. I am sending love and good wishes to you all every day and I hope that my path will lead me back to you very soon <3
I’ve done many volunteer projects over the years, most of the time in Southern Africa with big cats. But I must say that my experience at Panthera Africa is unforgettable. Although it’s the shortest project I’ve ever done, it left a very strong imprint in my heart, because of the people there, the animals and the passion that you can feel everywhere. Rarely have I felt such a relaxed, content behaviour in the animals. As soon as you set foot in Panthera Africa, you are overwhelmed with a sense of peace and contentment. Both the animals and the people are just happy. This is a true safe haven!
In most volunteering projects, I’ve been lucky to meet fantastic people and felt like I was part of a group with strong bonds. But here, after a week only, I felt I was part of a family. The way Liz and Cat share their passion, their dream and their true pure love for the animal is so generous and unique. They really make you feel like your presence as a person is making a true difference, and not that you’re a number on a long list of volunteers like in some other places. You feel that you will be forever welcome at the sanctuary and that they can read through your heart your love for the animals.
The entire staff contributes to making your time there special: Lynsey, Nina, Stig, Joseph… a group of pure hearted, funny, relaxed, passionate people with a fantastic dedication.
The purpose is absolutely clear, you learn so many things about canned hunting, bone trade and other background hidden practices in Southern Africa. Whenever you look at the animals, it’s no longer a tiger that you see, a lion, it’s the whole industry they are a victim of, and the hard, patient work a few passionate people dedicate their lives to try and change things.
Being offered the chance to be part of it, even only for a few days or weeks, is a blessing and I recommend it warmly to any hesitant volunteer.
You will not regret it!
Before I came to South Africa I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit scared actually, since I was going to live in a foreign country for 3 months with people I didn’t know. I was worried that I would feel lonely and homesick, but the second I entered the house at Panthera Africa all the thoughts and worries were gone. It immediately felt like home and I knew that I was going to have the best time of my life. Everyone there was so welcoming, warm-hearted and kind.
Since I was at Panthera Africa for 3 months, which is a pretty long time, many volunteers came and left during my stay. But I can say, that all of them had their own impact on my stay and I had so much fun with every single one. I now have friends in Sweden, Norway, England, Holland, Switzerland, Australia and of course South Africa.
Lyns, Cat, Stig, Lizaene, Nina, Joseph, you guys are family for me and I really, really thank you for everything.
I’ve never really been a big animal lover, I never had any pets or wished for some.
When you look them in the eyes you can see pure love and kindness and it is an unbelievable feeling to be able to make sure that these guys are safe and happy.
Of course I had to do some hard and sometimes not really fun work, but I always thought that I’m doing this for such a good reason, so it was okay. But cleaning the enclosures, looking for poop and bones like on an Easter egg-hunt, painting stumps, building platforms and enclosures and preparing the food was a lot of fun. The days were always diversified, so I never got bored at all.
I would sometimes just sit in the garden, watch the beautiful sunset, listen to the lions roar and feel so happy and calm. But there were also moments of so much laughter (LYNS, STIG ;))…
It is awesome to see, how people from all over the world with so different lives, come together at this place and immediately bond, since they’re all there for the same reason: to help animals.
Thank you so much to everyone!
I learned a lot at my time at Panthera Africa. Not only about Canned Hunting and the animals, but also about life and myself. I will never forget you and I promise to come back, because this is one of the best places in the world to see beautiful nature, make awesome friends and the best; really feel that you are doing something good for the animals.
Love, Lea (Germany)
January – March 2017