My passion for big cats led me to book the trip of a lifetime – two weeks volunteering with lion cubs in the South African Ukutula Lion Park and Lodge. Unaware of the atrocities that occur every day at supposed conservation parks, I arrived at the destination where I was faced with the harsh reality regarding the appalling, unethical treatments of lions throughout the country.
Within a day it became obvious that what I was witnessing was nothing short of barbaric and when questioning the actions of the staff at the reserve; I was dismissed.
I learnt that lion cubs raised by volunteers will end up in canned hunts.
Returning to the UK I knew I couldn’t sit back and do nothing so I started an online blog, Claws Out. The aim of Claws Out was to educate volunteers for the protection of future cubs and to try and bring an end to such an awful industry. People across the world simply don’t know that canned hunting is still happening in South Africa.
The blog took off and is now part of a registered charity, the International Aid for the Protection and Welfare of Animals (IAPWA). The campaign has led me to join Global Marches, speak in European Parliament alongside MEPs and the Blood Lions Team and feature in magazines and newspapers across the world.
Now, in 2018, I am officially a Campaign Manager for IAPWA and have been hired to work in lion welfare and conservation full time. My knowledge of the captive lion breeding industry is always growing and I have learnt that the problem is so much bigger than just volunteering and hunting and also now involves the lion bone trade. All of this will form my future campaign that we will launch soon!