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One of the objectives of Stichting Leeuw is education. The foundation wants to make visitors aware of the ways in which felines are threatened worldwide and show how people can influence their fate on a small and large scale.

Learn about the fate of big cats

For example, what can we do or not do to prevent the mistreatment of lions, tigers and other felines? Sometimes seemingly innocent actions can have a huge impact on an animal’s life. Consider, for example, posing with ‘photo lions’. Small cubs are taken away from their mother at a very young age to pose with tourists. As long as there are tourists who want to take pictures with cubs, this form of animal abuse will continue.

On the education gallery at Stichting Leeuw you can find a lot of information about the endangered big cats.

A photo with a cub

Did you know… that cubs are bred so that tourists can take a picture with them or feed them a bottle?

Tourists often pay a lot of money for this, so the breeding of cubs continues. When tourists stop doing this, this will definitely decrease. This will hopefully eventually stop the abuse of cubs.

Photo: Nero who was used as a photo cub at a circus

“The rescuers of lion cubs”

In Africa, they go one step further. There are organisations that pretend to be “the rescuers of lion cubs”. They are told that they are orphans and they need to be cared for. It is not told that there are large breeding barns around the corner where cubs are constantly born.

Tourists can feed a cub a bottle for a fee. The moment they become too large, tourists are allowed to walk with a lion, again for a fee. It is said that this way can get used to the savannah. Once these animals are too big to cuddle, bottle feed or walk with, they are used to hunt. Those same tourists can then shoot a real lion for a fee. This is the so-called canned hunting.

All in all, a terrible industry in which money is made three times over the back of an animal with death in the bargain. So think 10 times before you get involved with these types of organisations and double check whether you are visiting or volunteering with the right organisation.

Note: they are very convincing to get you to participate.  Several animal rights organisations and the governments of these countries are working hard to stop this industry.

Photo: Simba B at a busy market in Baghdad (Iraq)

Tiger bones in Chinese medicine

For centuries, tiger bones and other components have been used in traditional Asian medicine. Especially in China there is a lot of demand for these products. They believe in special healing powers in tiger products and despite the ban on tiger poaching, the demand for them remains. Partly due to corruption and low penalties, poachers continue to shoot tigers for this industry, because there is a lot of money to be made from it!

In some cases, tigers are bred specifically for this trade, but according to traditional recipe, an animal from the wild is worth much more. Due to the shortage of tigers, the government of South Africa has supplied lion skeletons to China as an alternative. These lions come from the canned-hunting industry (lions bred specifically for hunting).

Threat to tigers from deforestation

Tigers are very seriously threatened by deforestation of their natural habitat. Not only illegal logging takes place there, but also the felling of jungle to create plantations for the production of soy, palm oil. Often pieces of jungle are burned down to make way for this, with all the consequences that entails for the animals whose home it was.

Palm oil and soy are increasingly used as cheap raw materials. For example, palm oil is used in many products (Do you ever check the ingredients of the products you buy?)  and, for example, soy grown on a very large scale as feed for cows in the milk and meat industry.

Jungle is also cut down for mining. Excavating gold, diamond and aluminium. This creates very large, excavated bare spots in the landscape. By using machines, they pollute soil and rivers, on which the animals depend.

What can you do?
You can help combat deforestation by paying attention to the products you buy. For example, only buy wood and paper with the FSC Quality Mark. This means that the wood does not come from illegal felling.

Tiger Workshop

During the Tiger Workshop, visitors will learn much more about tigers and other big cats. Not only do participants get a lot of interesting information, they are also allowed to walk on the caretaker path, which allows them to get very close to the animals. By participating in the Tiger Workshop you support the charity of Stichting Leeuw. The workshop is given by volunteers and the entire proceeds go to the foundation and is used to care for the big cats.

An unforgettable adventure Wouldn't you like to see this with your own eyes?