Excited children boarded the minibus on Friday, 29 April for a visit to Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary. The field trip marked the start to the Children’s Book Network new workshop entitled, Cats.
Dannii Crystal and Berna Jacobs from Panthera did a sterling job in telling the children about the big cats and how they ended up at Panthera Africa. The kids listened attentively and looked in wonder as the big cats walked right up to the fence of their enclosures, showing off their beautiful coats.
The children saw tigers, brown and white lions, caracals and even a black leopard. They also had the opportunity to try and jump as high as a caracal – 3 metres – but no one managed. Leopards can carry up to three times their body weight but none of the children or adults could manage to pick up three times the leopard’s body weight for more than a few seconds, let alone drag it up a tree in their teeth.
All the big cats had a story and the children learnt about canned hunting and breeding camps, and what they could do to help the plight of these beautiful animals. First comes respect for all animals, and not to support cat sanctuaries that allow cub petting as these lions inevitably end up being shot by hunters.
With such a rich experience, the children were well equipped for their workshop the following day. Those who were able to come with us on Friday made a very good job of telling the other children about their experiences. The children were asked to draw their favourite big cat and created some masterpieces.
A big thank you to following people:
Panthera Africa for their generous donation to the children. Splash for taking the kids to Panthera Africa. Ellen Osman for collating permissions forms and dealing with the registers and name badges.