Monday, December 30, 2013


I haven't written much about the lions this trip, although every evening starting at about sunset, they fill the night air with their symphonies. Five or six times during the night I hear them as they roar back and forth. Many times it wakes me up because the enclosures are so close to my bungalow, and it sounds like they're under my window. I don't mind being awakened--I get to hear LIONS!

Martha, 3 months, 2010
There are no baby lions at Harnas right now. Recent laws in Namibia prohibit the breeding of lions--even though they're endangered and technically extinct in the wild in southern Africa. The government of Namibia has good intentions: they're trying to avoid the breeding of lions for canned hunting. This is a despicable practice of people paying to shoot basically tame, hand-raised lions in an enclosed space. It's a practice I've written about in my book and also in an on-line magazine called

There are money driven people who breed lions just for hunters to kill--at about $25,000 a kill. A man can walk into a small fenced area, face a tame lion who has no fear of humans, and shoot it from close range--all so he can go home and tell people he went to "wild" Africa and bagged himself a lion. Such a "brave" man. Such behavior is beyond my comprehension--that someone can look at such a magnificent creature and say, "Hey, I'd like to kill that."

Me with one of the Brothers, 2010
So to comply with the non-breeding laws, Harnas has all of its lions on birth control. So since 2010, no baby lions. I understand, though I miss handling the cubs. But I still walk every day or so to the lion enclosures to see the grown-up babies that I cuddled and played with. Lions are magnificent. When we, as humans, kill the last lion, it will be a sad day for this world. Being in their presence makes me appreciate my fragility, as well as the stupendous pattern that is the creation of life.

Zion at the Gate
In the mornings often I walk the 100 yards from my bungalow to the enclosure of Zion and Trust--the first two lions I ever touched when they were cubs in 2007. They are usually waiting for me at the gate and I slip my hand through the fence to scratch them while they make satisfied grunts and groans and rub their bodies on the fence. It's enough to sustain me for years in the Real World.

1 comment:

  1. Some people do some pretty unforgivable things, don't they? Incredible. But thanks for finally updating us on the lions. :)