Lion Conservation at Horseback Africa
Walking with lions and playing with lions cubs has been a controversial subject in recent times. There are a few animal extremists that campaign against this, which they believe to be cruel. As in all topics (religion, politics, ethics) extremist views should be taken with a pinch of salt. If you’ve ever owned a dog or cat then you have enough savvy to know if a cub is scared of you, avoiding contact with you or stressed. 98% of our guests are animal lovers and are thrilled with the way the cubs engage them, seek their contact and initiate play. Lions are social animals, like your dog, they crave love and attention and cannot be left caged on their own, even if it is a big cage. Our lion cubs are not restrained or leashed, if one doesn’t feel like socializing, he’ll let you know by walking a little away from the group and keeping his distance. He has all the space and freedom to do so!
We don’t survive off donations and we don’t pay fundraising companies exorbitant fees that would be better spent on our own lions. A few years ago elephants were the big hype and every ‘cruelty prevention society’ was collecting money to stop elephant interacting, now lions are in the new hype and everyone has forgotten about the elephants. The irony is that many of these societies don’t own a single elephant, lion or wildlife sanctuary. Have you ever spent the time to check what your donated money gets used for? (reference)
A recent study done by the SCI titled "Keeping the lion's share" investigated 4 major animal rights groups and found that they are spending minimum 50% and up to 75% of donated money for fundraising. In short, 75 cents of ever dollar you give them goes to fundraising and only 25 cents goes to the lions. You are literally donating money to be used to sell you the story! Perhaps it's time to make up your own mind about media hype statements like "All hand raised cubs get hunted" You could be tricked into believing and donating only to find that your money is being used mostly to fundraise as soon as the lion issue becomes old news, it'll get used to sell you the next big emotional issue (reference)
After all is said and done, true lion conservation will only continue if it's sustainable. Over the last 21 years we have been here, offering lion tours and using the money earned for our small part protecting our wildlife, not just for this generation but for our children too.
Our cubs are bred from excellent genetic bloodlines.
We adhere to our veterinarian’s strict deworming, immunization and feeding program to assure that the cubs are raised at optimum health.
We are a family business, we only take small tour groups and only twice a day so our cubs have lots of quiet time to themselves. All cubs have different personalities and if we see that one is feeling stressed then he or she is immediately removed to the peace and comfort of the nursery.
We have 4 adult female lionesses and 2 male lions that are part of our family. We only allow the lionesses a few litters each year to ensure that she stays strong and healthy. Don't confuse us with one of those establishments that have over 50 lions on the property!
After one year the lions are ready for the next stage of their lives. They are placed into a pride and introduced to large enclosures to prepare them to fend for themselves.
The lions we have released till now have had great success hunting, this is mostly due to our walking program.
We only donate our lions to safe wildlife parks and go to great lengths to ensure they kept far from the “canned lion” industry.
Dr. Colin MacRae has been involved on many research projects involving lions and other wildlife with the Onderstepoort Veterinary hospital and Pretoria Zoo.
Dr. Colin MacRae is a well-known and respected scientist, conservationist and lecturer. He obtained his BSc (Hons) degree in palaeontology in 1975 from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He was awarded his MSc in 1978 and his Ph D (palynology) in 1987. He joined the Council for Geoscience in 1978 and was head of Palaeontology section from 1986 to 1993. Colin is an accomplished speaker and has presented numerous lectures from popular levels for amateurs to international scientific congress.
Colin is the founder and was the first president of the South African Society for Amateur Palaeontologists. Colin and his wife started Horseback Africa Tours and Safaris in 1994, established the Elandshoek nature reserve in 2000 and the Horseback Africa Game Park in 2002.
Horseback Africa’s tours and safaris are focused on education and enrichment, leaving the participants with an experience of a lifetime and not just a photo.
*We are affiliated with the South African national department of Nature Conservation. This is a government department that monitors and controls wildlife initiatives and ensures animals are kept happy and healthy.
*We are members of WRASA (Wildlife Ranching Association of South Africa)
*We are members of GAZ (Gauteng Association of Zoos)
*We are members of WWF (World Wildlife fund)
*Little of charity's money going to help animals, By David Fitzpatrick and Drew Griffin, CNN Special Investigations Unit