Hello everyone, I am Femke Fatale and I am a big animal lover. For me they deserve more respect and love. This world is so fucked up! Every day you see videos on Facebook and read stories in the newspaper about abuse! Damn, I really do not understand how you can do that to a living creature.
Last week I saw a video of Taman Safari in Indonesia, they drug the lions so their visitors can take pix with them. WTF? It is all about money, people pay for these shots, the owners do not care about the animals only the money!
Damn, even as a visitor I would never ever pay for this. You can totally tell the lions are barely awake and unnaturally sleepy. How can you take photos with them at this point? You must realize this is fucked up and totally wrong. And this can’t be good for the lions as well. Sometimes I hate mankind. And money! It’s all about the money.
I also hate the circus. Don’t go see wild animals “perform” it is not natural, they are WILD! If only you knew how they made animals do the tricks. Believe me. You’d cry your eyes out. I am so happy animals are banned from it in most countries. We are already making a huge progress. Let’s keep fighting and save animals like Brutus.
Think before you do something! Is it ok? If not DON’T do it, DON’T support this shit!
I’m not saying that I am a saint, I made mistakes too, but learned from it.
A year ago I went to South Africa. At that time I had a really bad depression. I was so angry, sad and down and needed a break. A break from my life, my work, my friends and people in general. Everything.
So I decided to go to Cape Town and Johannesburg. I wanted to avoid people and work with lions and tigers as those are my favorite animals. I am a big catlady! Well not a big lady but I LOVE cats so much, all kinds of cats.
My friend recommended a place to me so I booked a stay there for like 2 weeks. Then after that I was going to go to Paarl and volunteer at Drakenstein and I also hung out with my friend Jon Monsoon, another animal rights fighter. He is an amazing guy! Respect. Jon recommended me Drakenstein, my favorite place on earth now!
So I arrived at the first place and they immediately introduced me to the cubs. Two little tigers and two little lions. I was in love and a bit stupid as well. You’ll find out later.
They had those four small babies, two lion cubs and two tiger cubs, then like 12-13 other lions under the age of 1 year. They were all separated from the mothers which raised some questions for me. I asked why they were not brought up by the parents. Vague answers, they were abandoned by their parents. All of them? Really?
Then we went cuddling them all, we fed them, swam with the baby tigers and to be honest I had the time of my life but then also not. I felt like a fraud, it didn’t feel right. I knew I was doing something I did not support. The longer I stayed there the more I felt bad about all of this.
I asked questions. Never got real answers. They had over 200 lions but none older than 3-4. Another big alarm! Why? Sold to canned hunters? No they said “sold to zoos and game reserves” hmm are there so many in the world? I do not think so.
I want to tell you this so you don’t make the same mistake like me. I supported this shit by paying to volunteer there. I felt awful. So inform yourself before you go to a park. Research and find out if it is legit or not. Don’t support breeding farms that eventually sell big cats to canned hunters.
All by all I had a good time there, but that’s not it, it is wrong!
I did meet so many people I still talk too, people from Australia, Germany, UK and the Netherlands. I did say I didn’t want to be around people but you cannot always avoid them ha ha!
Everywhere you go you meet and see people! I was social but I did take time for myself too, especially in the evenings. I watched my favorite show The Walking Dead, damn I want to be in that show as a zombie of course but that is beside the point now.
We had a weekly schedule that showed us who had to feed which animals and when. They had the lion cubs, the bigger ones, the even bigger ones and the biggest cubs they had. They also had a calf, chickens, ducks and tiger cubs. So they all needed to get fed. We fed them, depending on the animals, once or twice or three times a day. Between the feedings we could do whatever.
We went swimming in the pool, sometimes even with the little tiger cubs. I thought at that time it was so cool, but don’t forget. It’s NOT. We went shooting (not animals of course, just cans and stuff), we went food shopping in town, just hung out together on the porch, walked all over the land. It was so beautiful there, nature is the best in South Africa! It was so much fun to be in a world surrounded by animals.
The nights were amazing, you could hear the lions roar. And yes, they had big lions and tigers too, they were further down the park. We went to see them a lot and they got fed by the boys there. If I remember correctly once a week. They were fed some chickens too during the week as a little snack. We sometimes joined the boys to do the feeding, crazy to see how much meat these big cats need.
The park also had visitors and we took them on a tour through the park as guides. We learnt a lot about lions and tigers there as well because of these tours.
After that I did voluntary work at Drakenstein. And that was big difference. They did not support cub handling, they only have rescued lions and tigers. All taken from abusive situations like zoos. No breeding big cats and no interactions. Those people are amazing. They rescue the animals and give them a nice home.
We filmed a movie there, a little documentary about Drakenstein Lion Park, who are they, what do they do, what about canned hunting etc. It was so interesting.
Working there was also totally different, we did chores there like cleaning up the lion’s shit. It is huge droppings ha ha, water the plants and plant new grass. So no hugging and swimming with the cats.
They also fed the big lions there, the boys did that as well. They had to open the chickens, get the intestines out and then they could throw them to the lions. As part of the documentary I helped them with the chickens. Damn what a job! That smell. And the noise when you pull the intestines out. Whoa!
To be honest I would never do this at home, but this is part of the preparation for the lion’s food so it needed to be done. I also got to throw the chickens to the lions, it sounds easier than it is. You need to throw them over a big fence, hit the right spot and not hit the fence because then the chickens would be ruined for the lions. I got to learn how to throw like a guy ha ha. Hell yeah!
They also have a monkey sanctuary, I helped there one day. Also so cool! Feeding all the monkeys. Some of the small ones came to say hey and sat on your shoulder ha ha. So cool! Then there were sneaky monkeys that tried to steal from you ha ha especially your keys haha! Sneaky bastards.
All these monkeys were also rescued or taken over from zoos that went bankrupt.
We slept in the volunteer’s house that was close to the chimps area. At night I sometimes got scared, they make these creepy monkey noises like in the Planet of the Apes movie and smashed the metal door. It freaked me out. And sometimes during the day Angus, one of the chimps, threw stuff at us. Usually dirt and sometimes shit ha ha! That was his way of playing. Well that’s fun!
I spend one evening and night in a tent in the middle of the lion sanctuary and OMG. One word. AMAZING! The roaring. So loud, especially early in the morning. And that together with the sunrise. Just beautiful. Walking through the park before anyone else, of course someone from the park stayed with us. Watching the lions relax, sleep and play. Legendary!
I stayed there with the documentary crew, ie the sound guy, camera guy and Jon Monsoon my friend who came up with the idea for the documentary and we had a little BBQ! Lovely evening.
If you are interested In volunteering at Drakenstein Lion Park. Please visit www.lionrescue.org.za
In 2010 I followed Brutus and his rescue from the French circus. So sad. They repeatedly hit him and abused him; they declawed Brutus and because of the beatings he took his jaw was broken at an early age and they never fixed it. He has a crooked jaw now but I think he looks amazing. When I saw all this on the news I wanted to see him. I fell in love with his strength and his face. What a strong beauty.
He was taken to Drakenstein to live a good life, enjoy nature and be at ease. The Brigitte Bardot Foundation, Assistance aux Animaux and Natuurcentrum Belgium made this happen with Drakenstein Lion Park. So nice to see people work together for a good cause.
When I was there and I saw him, I cried. I was so happy that he was finally safe. Damn! I immediately adopted him. This means I pay every year to help pay for the medical care and food. It is the least I can do.
Apparently he always hides, but not when they do the feedings. So the first time I saw him was during my first feeding. I saw him and I cried. It was so fantastic to see him. Finally. After all these years. This was my fave part of the week, feedings when Brutus came out to eat. What a beauty!
I recently adopted another lion called Leonidas. Leonidas had spent his entire life in solitary confinement in a six meter shipping container. His arrival at Drakenstein marked the first time that he was able to walk on earth, experience grass under his feet and see others of his kind. Leonidas ended up in the shipping container because of the greed of a Lebanese zoo which sold him for profit and a complete disdain for his welfare.
Wanna adopt a lion? Check the Drakenstein site. Make a difference.
To support Drakenstein Lion Park we sell prints. FEMKE FATALE (model) & MIEKE DE VLIEGER (artist) PRESENT TO YOU: The TRUE LOVE print. Signed by Femke Fatale & Mieke De Vlieger, numbered on matte photo paper – UV & water resistant – A3 size. Because of our mutual love for animals we will donate 5€ per sold print to Drakenstein Lion Park in South Africa.
For prices and other questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
— Femke Fatale