Sophie’s Diary – July 11, 2016

This morning I woke up in the guesthouse on the farm. It was quite cold so I slept in a sleeping bag with a duvet and blanket on top. I felt like I was in a cocoon. For breakfast I had a freeze-dried müsli breakfast, which was crunchy and one of the better freeze-dried breakfasts I’ve had. I ate outside in the sun which was nice because it was 15-16 degrees out, a little chilly but nice with a sweater on. Johan left this morning to go and buy building materials with the two Norwegian girl volunteers we met last night. I had the privilege of following Andi around at work today. We started the day off by sitting down and having a meeting with two Dutch women who are volunteers and helping Andi set up the Foundation. One of the Dutch women is in charge of getting all paper work for the Foundation done, while her partner has been in charge of taking care of all social media coverage.

During the meeting, we spoke about how we would conduct the inauguration for the Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon enclosure. The two boy lions, Mandla and Isibindi who will move into our enclosure are still quite shy, as they only come out at night to eat. It has been decided that the best option would be to dart the two boys to move them. A medical check will be done on both lions while they are darted and will be paid by Lööf Foundation. This will take place on Thursday at 2:00pm.

After the meeting Andi had visitors who wanted to donate to the Love Lions Alive Project. We all went on a walk around with the visitors where Andi showed them around the whole farm. In the enclosure that is near where we had the barbecue last night is Natasha, Sasha and Moya. Natasha was first paired with Mela in an enclosure, but the two did not get along well. Mela was the first lion to arrive on the farm as she was brought from Glen Garriff as a cub with Andi. Her parents are Bobo and Ariel. She was born on March 29 and will be two years old next year.

Natasha is much happier with Sasha and Moya, two 15-month-old boys. Natasha will be two next year on March 29 and is the alpha female amongst the two boys. The enclosure is not electric, as none of the lions have experienced electric fences before. Natasha came from a circus in Spain where she was kept in a box and only allowed out to take photos with humans. This has now left her scared of cameras to this day. A local Spanish group saved her, however they weren’t sure what to do with her or how to properly take care of her. It cost over SEK 53 000 to ship Natasha from Spain to South Africa. It was very hard for Andi to collect enough money to cover this expense so she reached out to Kevin Richardson also known as the “Lion Whisperer”. As soon as she reached out to him, she was able to cover the shipping cost for Natasha. Natasha had lived her entire life in a box and never got the opportunity to experience wind in her face, or natural grass on her paws. She experienced all of these sensations for the first time when she arrived at Appin Farm. Natasha has now been at the Love Lions Alive Project since April 7, 2016 and Sasha and Moya have been on the Farm since April 8, 2016.

Hunters were going to buy Sasha and Moya, however after visiting the Love Lions Alive Project, the girlfriend of the hunter said he should purchase the lions and give them to Andi’s sanctuary.

Through conversing with Andi today I learned that you can get paid for a lion twice. The first way by being paid is by selling the lion to be hunted as a trophy. The second way, is by selling that same lion for its body parts. It is legal in the Free State Province of South Africa to use 5000 lions for their body parts and get a permit to use lions for the powder from their bones, as it is seen to give power to men. This is something Andi is very against and promises to never do with her lions, as she is working very hard to keep the lions alive.

Andi has been working with lions since 2011. She first started at Glen Garriff, which was a breeding farm. The owner fell sick, so Andi took over Glen Garriff and separated the male and female lions immediately so that no more breeding could take place. There were 83 lions at Glen Garriff when she was first there. She decided to leave once she realized they wanted to continue breeding the lions and she did not believe in that.

Today Johan had bought building materials with the two Norwegian girl volunteers, as they are in charge of work on the farm, to make a tent camp where Andi’s caravan is located on the mountain. Johan has started building a deck for a tent camp. Andi wants to build her own tent camp where her volunteers can stay while working at the Love Lions Alive Project.

I have now been working very hard at Protea Hotel in Montrose to get photos and videos up on the Internet. I am headed to have dinner on the farm now and then to bed as I have had a very fulfilling and interesting day!

/Sophie Lööf
Chairman and Founder of Lööf Foundation

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