I was enthralled and privileged to get a call from Arne Muller to walk again with Lyla and Mustafa, the two young lions at Zorgfontein this weekend. What an experience this is and I love it more each time I do it. However- never far from my mind is the awkward (eupamism) truth that these cubs were removed from their mother at a very young age- so that they could live with people and get used to them to enable these walks to happen and for people to make money.  One the one hand, there are no leashes, no cages and no collars- just a walk through the African bush with some rather large kitties. On the other hand there are no true wide open spaces for these rather special cats.

These lions are still very young, at just over a year each and yet their paws are already huge. Our guide, Ben Bristow told us that these paws will be as large as dinner plates when the lions are fully grown. The cats are already so powerful, it is hard to imagine how much bigger they will be!

We had a peaceful walk this weekend with no disturbances and the lions left us after an hour- wishing we could spend more precious time with them.  Ben made me very jealous by mentioning that when he was a baby his father used to bring lions to his cot rather than teddy bears. Humpf ! How lucky can you get?

Thank-you Arne for thinking of me.

Fiona Ayerst

17 March 2012


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