SHANTHI SANCTUARY

LION WHISPERS



DIVAN GROBLER



ABOUT DIVAN GROBLER



Since I was a small boy, it has always been my biggest dream to work with Lions and keep them safe. I lost that connection when I went into sports. I never understood why Lions would follow me everywhere I went. They were on posters and cards. I remember the eyes of the Lion looking deep into me.


After school I went on to become a professional rugby player, but I experienced many downfalls and challenges during this career. I always asked myself, “Why is this happing to me?”, “Why am I not being the athlete that I want to become?”


It seemed as if, the more effort I put into playing rugby, the more injures I received. One injury that ended up changing my life was when I was involved in a tackle that resulted in a head-on collision. I cracked my cheekbone. This injury ended my rugby career. I was out on my own with nowhere to go. My friends did not support me and I was in a place of total despair.


One day, I felt the urge to take a drive, and found myself in front of a Lion breeding park. I asked if I could come and help out - they said yes, but only as a volunteer. Without even thinking about this, I said yes. I did not know how I was going to survive. I was working for free, with no income. My heart told me to say yes, and that was the day I started listening to my heart.


I found myself raising four Lion cubs and two Tiger cubs. I was also looking after Leopards who were almost fully grown. It was an amazing experience to be part of, but I was soon to find the dark side of this wonderful experience. I began to see the clouds of darkness surrounding the Lion Park. I realized that the animals were being mistreated, abused and exploited by humans.


There was so much human interference. This began with people coming to the park just to take pictures of themselves with the Lions. There was absolutely no respect shown towards the animals. It became very clear to me that these animals completely lacked freedom, and I did not like that they were being used for pictures and were also allowed to be handled by guests.


I stood back and watched all of this taking place. All of us volunteers were becoming increasingly frustrated, having to continuously witness the mistreatment of these animals.


I then learned that when Lions were no longer cute tiny cubs any more, they were put into enclosures. They were no longer allowed to be held - and then they were sold... I had many questions about this. I wondered, “Where and who were they sold to?”... but I never received a straight answer. Apparently I was asking too many questions because, the next thing I knew, I was being told by the owner to leave this place.

I went straight to my four Lions and spent as much time as I could with them. I showed them how much I loved them, and I made a promise that I would get them out of this horrible place.

After the Lion park, I was working for an NPO (non-profit organization). I was working all over South Africa, rebuilding schools and creating projects to enhance education. It was a brilliant job and I loved working with the kids. I was able to start a project and see it through to the end. Even though I was doing this incredible work for the kids, the Lions started following me and, once again, appearing in my life. I took action and started to look for land for the four cubs that I had promised to rescue.


I found the GLOBAL WHITE LION PROTECTION TRUST (WLT) and, after numerous emails, Jason Turner and I talked about the cubs and possibilities for them to be free.

After a year of hard work at the NPO, they retrenched me - that was the last thing I had expected. But I did not give up and started to focus on what is important to me and the promise that I had made to those Lions. I met up with WLT and they have given me a chance to help out at the Trust. I have grown with the project and found a home. I am now on the land which carries the lineage of the Lions I raised.


So now my end goal, my destiny, is to secure a safe haven and future for all Lions. I am working on that one step at a time.


As Student Co-ordinator at Mbube, my goal is to show volunteers what they can learn from the Lions, and also to facilitate a real African experience that they will never forget. It is a chance to make a difference now and forever. The volunteers will be imprinting their own Lion paws for the future survival of mankind and lions. Together we will make a huge difference.


LION WHISPERS

Pitch

The foundation of our goal is to uplift rural schools, to give them the sustainable future and principals that lions have taught me. Once we have made schools strong and sustainable, we can start working with kids from poor areas and bring them into conservation to teach them the importance of preserving and securing a future for our animals. This will empower kids from the shackles of poverty and free them into a life of a real dream, that can become an important role in tomorrow’s world, in all aspect of where lions have strong principals to teach us and that all has a balance in life.

Critical Need

• One 4x4 Vehicle for transporting staff and materials to schools and research in field of lions
• Staff: myself and volunteers. Volunteers that need to have practical field experience in veterinary also teachers and all other related skills are welcome.
• Materials for schools such as building materials table and chairs, chalk boards, pots, kitchen cutlery.
• Paint.
• Solar panel electricity
• Water tanks.
• Computers new or 2nd hand for schools, internet wireless.
• Books (any educational material)
• Books to write on, pens.
• Land for lion’s rehabilitation and reintroduction into a strong pride gene.
§ Lions are dying out as you are reading this, there has to be balance put back for man has interfered too much. Controlling diseases on lions like, TB, feline aids, with the help of volunteers research in the field we can find a way to put back that balance to secure that the diseases that is killing out our Kings of the Jungle will not be wiped out. Stronger gene can survive, putting back balance in an ethical way.

Impact

The ideas and impact is by planting small seeds so that it grows into a big tree where no wind or storm can knock it down. Teaching to children builds strong leaders for the future of tomorrow’s world. With an effect on schools from young age and teaching the right way, we can change the life of a child that has been over struck with poverty, and given the chance to know what is going on in this world is bigger than just where they are, to grow each child to his/her true potential for a dream to start. This will impact later on larger scale around one child that took all he or she had to become by a small chance of hope and help. An understanding came into play that will have strong grounded principals for young leaders to light up the dark.

Feasibility

This project is based on the outskirts of one of the biggest Game reserves in the Southern worlds Hemisphere. The goal is to educate kids on the right principals of ethical conservation, enhancing their knowledge of the Truth of what is going on about our wildlife and effect this has on tourism and economy. With a fine balance of conservation and sustainable schools, this can grow into a strong future so we have an end for poverty struck children and our ever decreasing wildlife. Giving power back in the right way for effective use that will echo in eternity.

Last Points

This is not just an idea but a dream and passion. To make sure that the future of Africa can be strong we can learn from the world mistakes. For we only have one planet and for it to continue to exist we have to change our ways.

- See more at: http://www.thisisyourplanet.com



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