Animal Petting Safaris Blog Lion Low Angle by Deon De Villiers

Animal “petting” safaris

The decision is yours, and you have the power to make it

I was fortunate enough while growing up, to be a regular visitor to a friends game farm less than an hour from my home town. She was the coolest kid on the block, money wasn’t an issue, and she lived in a safari park. Giraffe walking by her bedroom window, rhino fed in an open paddock and most iconic, she had a pet lion cub called Jabulani.

We interacted and played with Jabulani until his claws were big enough to rip shreds into our arms as he tackled us on the back lawn; a showing of power and dominance. It was only after I returned from the military that I saw his ultimate demise; a once powerful predator growing up with bulging muscle definition and dark mane; turned into a bag of bones with a scraggly hairdo behind bars in a cage with inadequate leftover meat remains.

In the early years this seemed somewhat acceptable, and a common outcome for such a pet which was actually intended for the wild. As the years went by I learnt more about my friends family and their intricate involvement in widespread hunting practices and businesses across Southern Africa (some legal and some questionable). Maybe I was fortunate, or perhaps I was utterly naive to think that everything in life had positive or at least semi-acceptable outcomes.

Today I wonder what eventually happened to Jabulani, and whether his fate was a bullet to the head, or a misplaced shot to his chest leaving him sprawled in pain until his “so-called” brave terminator built up enough courage to actually enter the fenced-off enclosure to put a bullet to his heart. This, unfortunately, is the disgusting truth behind Southern Africa’s cold and heartless canned-lion hunting industry, which is further driven by an insatiable market for big cat bones and body parts.

Canned lion hunting, is often fuelled by captive bred cat breeders, and supported by animal petting safari outfits, known for taking vast amounts of travel funds from unsuspecting wannabe philanthropists; masquerading as conservation centres, and research facilities across Southern Africa. This is a problem so large and underground that even experienced investigative journalists battle to get behind the doors of this shady enterprise, and no doubt supported by greedy politicians, stuffing themselves with the illegal payouts to support the industry via political manoeuvrings!

I know Jabulani is no longer with us, but whatever his demise may have been, my memories remain fond of a time when innocents prevailed, and we weren’t continuously faced with these underlying currents of corrupt and barbaric animal cruelty driven by greed. Although there was more than likely demand for a variety of exotic items at the time, the greed was still small and only practised by a shameful few. Today it seems the indulgence is so widespread that the point of no return is way beyond the reach of any man or power!

Luckily, I now have enough experience to understand such issues, and with experience comes sufficient wisdom and power to make my own decisions, and hopefully inform, educate and encourage others along the way.

Safari Guru does not support any petting parks and breeding centres involved in such cruel and dishonest practices.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

On Key

Related Posts

Private Jet Charter Safaris plane with Deon De Villiers waiting for guests

Private Jet Charter Safaris

Commercial airlines are back on track servicing much of the world. More specifically, as African Safari Travel Specialists, the continent of Africa is open for

Three lion cubs by Geoff Whiley

Botswana at last!

After two years of Covid postponements, we finally got to enjoy our Safari Guru arranged trip into the Okavango Delta and northern Botswana’s Chobe National

Visit Victoria Falls Zimbabwe view of the waterfall from above

Visit Victoria Falls Zimbabwe

Safari Guru, Suse Lock, has been enjoying the Zimbabwean sunshine! The first stop was to visit Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, a popular spot for Safari Guru

Planning the Perfect Safari Elephants in in Kenya at Singita Grumeti

Planning the Perfect Safari

A safari is one of the best eye-opening, rewarding, inspirational and refreshing vacations you can take. Be it going alone, with a likeminded group of

“If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.”

-John Hemingway

If you’re dreaming of Africa, your journey has already began!

Get the latest


Read about the amazing adventures through Africa