Monday, March 5, 2012

Sanctuary Lions Desperate for Funds for Food


There are 16 lions who may not have anything to eat this week, so if you care about lions, please consider sending them $5, $10, or whatever you can afford.  Although there are many worthy charitable causes, this is literally a life or death situation for these lions so I hope you will consider helping, even if it is a small one time donation. SanWild, the sanctuary where the lions reside, finds itself in this dire situation due to forces beyond its control, and the lions lives are in the balance.

SanWild Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in South Africa takes in sick or wounded animals, heals them without habituating them to humans, and releases them back into the wild.  In some cases when animals are already habituated to humans or are too injured to release back to the wild, the animals remain at the sanctuary.  SanWild relies on donations for survival, and at the moment, they have a critical financial need relating to 16 lions which live at the sanctuary. 

In 2003, the government confiscated 16 lions from a canned hunting and breeding operation where their living conditions were not acceptable.  SanWild agreed to take the lions and built an enclosure for them.  These lions cannot be released back to the wild as they are too habituated to humans, and they also do not have enough space on the sanctuary for sufficient territory. 

The funding situation is so critical that SanWIld was trying to get enough donations over the past weekend to buy food for the lions next meal on Tuesday - tomorrow.  The lions only eat every 4 days or so.  Hopefully they have enough to buy the next meal, but then there is the one after that....you can donate on their website or securely via Paypal.  Be aware that if your credit card charges a fee for international transactions (usually 3 percent) you may not want to use it (though that's 30 cents on a $10 donation).  There is no fee if you use your debit card on Paypal or if your credit card does not impose a foreign transaction fee. 

The problem comes about because money that was promised never arrived.  SanWild says: "You can read the full story on how the lions were all saved from South Africa's infamous canned lion hunting and breeding industry. You will find their story on our website at www.sanwild.org Success Story Archive. The South Africa Nature Conservation department brought them to us with an undertaking to pay for their care, but they never did and did not keep to the agreement. The lions are simply too habituated and imprinted on humans to be released. We also do not have enough land to release 16 lions."  So imagine, you take in 16 lions, you expect some financial support, you don't get any - what do you do?  SanWild has since 2003 found the money and found a way, although at times it has been desperate enough they considered euthanizing the lions.  What does it cost to feed these lions in Sounth Africa?  About 600,000R, or $80,000 USD, annually.  Half of that typically is taken care of by a European foundation that donates at the end of April, typically.  The other half, has to come from donations where they can get it.  Right now they are out of funds and still have a couple months until they expect their large annual donation.  If enough people would send even $5, we could see them through this time.

Here is some information about these lions, which you can find with more information on the SanWild webpage under Funding Appeals:

"At SanWild we have 16 beautiful lions all rescued from South Africa’s infamous captive lion breeding industry. The animals were all confiscated by the authorities and arrived at SanWild in 2003 where they have been living a full and secure life in their respective prides.

Caring for these lions has remain an uphill financial battle and there have been times where we have had to come up with some very ingenious ways to ensure that sufficient funding is available to ensure the lions next meal. There have also been times when our financial situation became so dire that we had to consider putting the lions to sleep if we should fail to come up with the necessary donor funding. However with the support of our friends and the lions; friends out in the public domain, we have managed time and time again to overcome our dire financial crisis and ensure the lions’ continue welfare.

At the beginning of 2012 we once again find ourselves in a dire financial situation in respect to have enough funds to ensure that the lions next meals is secured until grant of sufficient donor funding can be secured for 2012. 

May we please ask you to spare a thought for our lions and consider a donation for our lions to ensure their welfare and next meals ASAP? All donations are appreciated; no matter how large or small. Our animals’ lives depend on securing the funding and we will be most appreciative of your support"


On the SanWild facebook page the comments show that they have resigned themselves to having to beg for money, and that they largely have resigned themselves to the indifference of people who, while talking on their cell phones, watching their televisions, driving their cars, and dining out, can't be bothered to make a small donation.  This recent comment, for example, from SanWild:

"Sadly the situation does not make my blood boil anymore. It just saddens me so much too continuously have to beg and beg. To answer your question on how does one run a protected wildlife reserve on public donations? With great difficulty but over the years it has been the generosity of a small group of dedicated donors that has helped us grow SanWild. However lately donor funding has dropped to an all time low and keeping up with the increasing demand for the need for wildlife rescues and sanctuary is very difficult. What is so demoralising and humiliating is when people that do have access to mobile phones and internet believe they cannot afford to help. $10 a month from each of our FB friends can truly be the difference between life and death for so many animals; if only people would understand or acknowledge this? After all we are only the voices of the animals that cannot speak to the humans out there; we are only here to convey their most basis needs to all! At great personal sacrifice we continue for their sake month after month, year after year while so many people out there cheer us on, “go and save more animals” yeah, yeah yeah. If only they knew how difficult it gets at times; how terrible it is for me on a personal level to keep on asking and asking while pretending that I am okay. If only they could see the love and trust in the animals eyes we have to care for on a daily basis, trust that we will provide for them. I wonder if animals could talk and read if they would trust so much; knowing then that their very survival always hangs on the goodwill of only a small handful of people that actually care to do more than just talk."

Too many people say they care - yet do nothing.  So many people expect "others" to take care of things.  If you believe that lions are wonderful creatures that deserve to be saved, and if you believe that wildlife sanctuaries serve a much needed purpose, I hope you will consider even a small donation to help these lions.  Conditions in Africa are far from what they are here - your money will go farther than you think.  If you can donate the cost of one fast food meal, it will matter.