a small victory for big cats

On Monday the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve made an important announcement.


no more petting for profit

The reserve has been under scrutiny for some time over its cub petting practices which have been taking place since 1990. Now, under new ownership of the Bothongo Group, it was announced on Monday that all petting will come to an immediate stop. Not only has petting for profit been ceased but they have also committed to responsible breeding practices.

Mike Flynn, Chief Operations Officer, commits to the following on behalf of the reserve:

  • We will strive to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and contented animal collection, and we will work with local and international institutions and bodies ensuring that we play our part in managing the long-term survival of endangered and threatened species.

  • We pledge not to sell or exchange any of our animal family, especially our lions, unless it’s to a reputable accredited facility and/or licensed wildlife institution.

  • We will breed animals only if this serves a conservation purpose.

lead by example

Pressure from conservationist groups & consumers is slowly turning petting for profit into a redundant practice. Mr Flynn mentions the sustainability factor in this press release as well as the fact that other institutions offering petting should follow suit. Reserves like the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve are finally seeing that the demand is dwindling & consumers are putting the bottom line under pressure by shopping elsewhere for a legit wildlife experience. Soon, others will follow in their footsteps & a future where petting for profit is a non-existent practice will be in sight.


Chantelle has not supported the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve or any other profit for petting businesses in over a decade. A visit to the reserve will follow in due course to see how the changes have been applied & whether it can be supported as an ethical, sustainable conservation reserve.

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