Panthera Africa, Stanford Big Cat Sanctuary
Panthera Africa opened in April 2015 on a farm just outside Stanford and the story of each resident big cat is heart-breaking. These cats escaped forming part of the statistics stating that 2 to 3 captive lions are killed every day. On the 40 hectare farm you don’t walk with lions or pet cubs. No, Panthera Africa does not allow for any human interaction with their felines. Here every cat is being cared for according to their unique requirements. This retirement destination has the main goal of raising awareness about captive bred big cats. There is no petting here as this practice certainly leads to animal abuse. Abuse is something that the cats at Panthera have experienced and would best like to forget. But their lives have changed for the better due to the rescue missions of owners Lizaene Cornwall and Catherine Nyquist. Although tigers don’t belong in Africa the two Bengal tigers, Arabella and Raise, would fetch $10000 per kilogram of bone but here outside Stanford they are safe thanks to the efforts of Lizaene and Cat.
A group of tourism officials visited Panthera and was expertly guided to hear the Panthera stories and meet the cats of this sanctuary – one of only seven true big cat sanctuaries in South Africa. The cats are restricted by enclosures but these are big enough to allow for some play between the 22 hours that lions typically sleep daily. They are stimulated with toys and their camps are equipped to accommodate their nature. Huge trees as scratch poles, a raised look-out for better views or a pool to cool down when the Overberg sun gets too much. Interesting environments created specially to laze away days. Near the quiet village of Stanford the lions can sleep in peace thanks to the commitment and love of Lizaene and Cat and the many volunteers who assists with the maintenance of Panthera Africa and the dedicated care of its resident cats.
Panthera Africa is situated outside Stanford off the R326. Tel 071 182 8368 http://www.pantheraafrica.co.za Two tours per day at R240 per adult and R150 for children under 13. October – March 9:00 & 16:00; April – September 10:00 & 15:00, Bookings essential.