Sophie’s Diary 5 March, Part 1.
I am now on my way to the farm Appin in Swinburne, Free State, South Africa. I will be meeting Andi Rive who runs the Love Lions Alive Project! I got to know of her while watching Animal planet on TV last year. I wrote an e-mail to Andi and now I am going there to see if we, Lööf Foundation can co-operate/support her dedicated work in some way. I have many ideas and I feel very excited to meet both Andi and hopefully many lions!!!
The Love Lions Alive Project first started when they wanted to protect a reserve of lions from being used for sale for hunting, or for their body parts. Ever since rescuing these lions, she has taken on more lions, because she simply cannot say no to protecting these soon to be extinct creature. The killing of lions in Africa is happening at an exponential rate. Many are killed only for their body parts. Whether that be to use the skins of the lions, as a trophy on a floor, or hung on a wall. In South Africa, a tourist can pay up to $50,000 to choose a lion they would like to hunt, and kill for sport. Many lions are bred only to be hunted and killed for sport. Lions are viewed as more valuable dead, than alive. In some areas around the world, there are “cuddle farms” for tourists to visit. This is where lions are bred, to create many cubs that tourists can cuddle and bottle-feed. Many of the cubs are not fed properly, to keep them small for a longer time to generate more money from tourists. Once they get bigger, they are then used for the “walking with lions” industry, where tourists can go for walks with lions. It is not proven how they get the lions to walk with complete strangers everyday, but the lions are raised to fear sticks that the tourists walk with. This is not humane for the lions, as they would not naturally walk with human strangers in the wild. Once these lions become intolerant to walking with strangers, or become hormonally temperamental they are sold to be hunted or sold for their body parts.
In the far east of Africa, many lion body parts are used for sale for medicinal purposes. It is believed that lions supposedly provide men with wonderful powers and strength. This creates a high demand for lion body parts, so many lions are only being raised to kill, and then export their bodies to buyers. Since the 1950’s, the lion population has reduced by 50% to only a mere 20,000 lions left in Africa today.
Love Lions Alive Project is based out of the farm Appin in Swinburne, Free State, South Africa. There, she has a lion sanctuary that started out with the first five lions she rescued. Today, she now cares for over 50 lions daily. She takes in lion’s everyday coming from zoos, private owners, or lions from other parks. Her main focus is to spread awareness about the issue surrounding these beautiful creatures, and to allow people the chance to come to her lion sanctuary to see lions in their true glory, and educate the public about this devastating issue.
Some of Andi’s mission statements are:
– Never sell, breed with or misuse a lion.
– Be a haven for misused, the abused, the unloved and those who have been seen as a quantum or livestock to their owners.
– Strive to create awareness in the world that live lions are more valuable than dead lions.
– Be a retirement home for elderly lions who have outlived their use to their current owners and who deserve to live out their lives in quiet dignity.
You can read more on http://lovelionsaliveproject.com/. I will write again tonight and share today’s visit, both in words and pictures!