The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve Says NO to Cub Petting

Have you heard? The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve will no longer be offering cub petting with immediate effect in support of animal rights. 

The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve Is Under New Management

The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve in the Cradle of Humankind will no longer be offering cub petting to the public, with immediate effect.

For 30 years, the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve has shared its love of wildlife with local and international visitors. But times have changed. Under the new ownership of the Bothongo Group, the reserve is refocusing its efforts on animal welfare.

Recently appointed Chief Operations Officer of the reserve, Mike Fynn, explains:

Breeding and rearing animals for the purpose of cub petting and interaction is not only undesirable from an animal welfare perspective, it’s also not a sustainable business model. From now on, we will focus on educating the public about wildlife and the importance of conservation. This is why, with immediate effect, we choose to put a stop to cub petting at the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve and sincerely hope that other facilities responsibly follow suit.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

Over the past few months, the reserve has initiated a three-year plan to upgrade all of its public facilities, habitats and wildlife enclosures, which will be remodeled around the welfare and wellbeing of its animals. Many of them are species that are endangered due to human activity and habitat loss.

According to Fynn, the reserve team will dedicate themselves to a new internal mantra of being a ‘nurture reserve’.

In addition, they will commit to the following:

  • They will strive to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse and contented animal collection, and will work with local and international institutions and bodies ensuring that they play their part in managing the long-term survival of endangered and threatened species.
  • They pledge not to sell or exchange any of their animal family, especially their lions, unless it’s to a reputable accredited facility and/or licensed wildlife institution.
  • They will breed animals only if this serves a conservation purpose.

To those of our visitors who are disappointed that they can no longer cuddle a lion cub at our reserve: this is the right thing to do,” says Khupe. “As animal lovers, we understand how charismatic African wildlife is. But the truth is that our love for our animals may inadvertently harm them, even though we don’t mean to.”

She adds that she’s excited about this new journey: “We take the opportunity to re-welcome the greater public, wildlife stakeholders, tour operators and travel agents to actively support our reserve as it evolves into a BIG, must-see destination, that provides an authentic and informative wild animal experience for generations to come. Our wildlife family now has a voice again.

For More Information

For more information about the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, visit

You can also contact them on 011 957 0106/9 or

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