I think back to May 31st, when I was playing the waiting game at the airport in London. I sat at the gate and the screen above my head showed Johannesburg. Only another hour to go before departure. It was in this moment I realized I was actually on my way to see lions up close. Until then the sponsorship and everything around it had been slightly surreal to feel true. But there I was. About to board a flight for a first visit to South Africa, and the big cats I adore. Being a Swede living in Scotland these exotic animals have always filled me with awe as I watched them on nature shows on TV, and their majestic presence on this Earth felt to me like something untouchable, something us humans cherished. Therefor it came as a chock a couple of years ago, that not only are lions endangered, but also they are being bred for the bullet in South Africa. Not being able to cope with that thought I had gotten involved with the efforts made to raise awareness on the issue, and end this horrible industry. And it was as a proud member of the CACH family that I now sat at the airport in London, about to hop on a plane on my first ever encounter with lions. I was going on a 2 week volunteer trip to Welgedacht, the sanctuary of Kevin Richardson; The Lion Whisperer.
PS. A little cute story to end my post. Upon my return to Scotland I had dinner with friends. We talked a little bit about my time in South Africa and touched the subject of canned hunting. Suddenly their eldest son, 8 years old, looked up and told us that he has an idea. This wee fella had come up with a plan, and a design, of a sort of airbag vest for lions, similar to the ones used in cars (but much more he powerful he strictly pointed out). And this vest would protect lions from hunters bullets, as well as the protecting lions from the pain of being shot at. Bless!