It’s been a roaring good week at Legend Golf & Safari Resort as two new predators were welcomed on to Africa’s most exciting new development.Not that the two cute balls of white fur look anything like the deadly big cats they will eventually grow into.
These adorable white lion cubs have taken up residence at the resort’s pioneering Legend Wildlife and Cultural Centre. And all eyes – cats and human – are on these rare big cats as they settle into their new home under the watchful eye of project manager Arrie Van Deventer.
The introduction of the 10-week-old male and female cubs takes Van Deventer one step closer to realising his dream of introducing the white lion gene on to the resort at the Big Five Entabeni Safari Conservancy in the Limpopo Province and, ultimately, into the wild.
There are currently five lions at the Predator Centre, including three orphaned white lions.
Van Deventer said: “I’m very excited to have more white lions at the centre and continue my work towards returning these majestic creatures back to the wild so they can roam with the dignity they deserve.
“These first few weeks are particularly important as the cubs get used to their new surroundings. For myself, I want to have a strong relationship with them so I’m spending four to five hours a day with them to allow them to get to know me. Already the male is quite happy to come to me and allow me to stroke him. The female’s still quite skittish, but then she’s had little human contact. But I know though that within a couple of weeks she won’t be recognisable from the spirited young lady she is now and she’ll be much more comfortable.
“I’m secretly hoping that I will be able to take them out for “walks” with me, just like I used to do with the last lion I hand-raised – Mapimpan – before he moved on to the teenage enclosure to be paired with one of our white lionesses in the breeding programme.”
The new additions will stay in the Wildlife and Cultural Centre’s cub enclosure for the next couple of months. They will then move to an innovative “lion island”: a deep, dry moat dug around an expansive piece of land which allows the lions to roam without the threat of territorial retribution or violent male dominance from the Big Five reserve’s current wild pride.