I’m not lion… by Alison Lee Rubie

Walking peacefully through the savannahs of South Africa, Kevin Richardson (The Lion Whisperer) and Bobcat the Lion were exploring the surrounds while Gabby the Lioness ventured off on her own. Sitting in the truck with the other volunteers my attention turned to Gabby and her adventure. Gabby had found a herd of wildebeest and was stalking them as potential prey. She crept towards them before one of the herd noticed her. Startled the wildebeest galloped forward to the rest of the herd. Gabby continued to walk towards them, her intentions clear. Then without warning, the wildebeest outsmarted her (very rare!), they turned on her as a group and started to walk, almost charge towards her. Gabby thinking the situation through thought it best to retreat and returned to Kevin and Bobcat for the remainder of the walk. Her confidence was shaken a little but she continued on. It was very exciting to witness that first hand. All of Kevin’s lions are fed meat that has been prepared for them by Kevin’s team and volunteers. The meat is donated from farms around the area where animals pass away from natural causes. Kevin does not require his lions to do their own hunting and it is rare for one of his lions to go on a hunt like this so it was pretty awesome to watch even though she was unsuccessful.

 Gabby on the hunt

Gabby on the hunt

Did you know that the lioness will do the majority of the hunting for the pride? The lioness will generally hunt either first thing in the morning or around dusk. They are nocturnal animals choosing to sleep during the warmth of the day and be active at night most of the time. Being careful not to expose their cubs when hunting they hide their cubs in dens before going out to hunt for them and return with food. On the menu is anything ranging from rabbit to zebra to wildebeest (if they are brave enough!) While lions are excellent hunters they are also known to be scavengers as well, electing to not exert the energy required to hunt if they find a suitable feed that requires much less energy to obtain.J The majority of the feline species are nocturnal with the exception of some cats like the cheetah that are diurnal (day time animals).

If you would like to volunteer in South Africa, I couldn’t recommend Kevin Richardson’s Sanctuary more. It is an ethical place to volunteer and the experiences you will have will last with you for a lifetime. If you would like more information you can go to their website www.lionwhisperer.co.za and click on the contact list. Let them know you heard about them through the Feline Foundation or Lobby for Lions or myself. It will be the start of an adventure. You won’t regret it.