Our Love Knysna Projects trip to The Crags was a jol! 3 students were tasked with telling you what happened. Julie Jacobs, from Concordia High, was first and expressed her joy with Birds of Eden. Today, Yollanda van der Mbovu, a matric student at Percy Mdala High School, tells us about Jukani, the new big cat centre.
This was our trip to Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday, the 20th of October 2013. Jukani is situated in The Crags, a 30 minute drive northwards from Knysna.
We saw lions and lots of other wild animals but the one that stole my heart was the Siberian Tiger. Lali was born in 2008 and now weights 150kg. She’s beautiful! She may not have greeted us but even at a distance her presence was felt. As sweet as she is, she’s also intimidating. Robert, our tour guide, told us that there are very few Siberian tigers left in the world and worried that there’d be none within 5 years because of poachers – very sad.
The next highlight was a Caracal. It’s small and dangerous, like when they say that “dynamite comes in small packages”. I learned that they can live up to 19 years in captivity and rarely survive the age of 14 in the wild – i guess that in the wild it comes down to the survival of the fittest.
Wild creatures are continually interesting. For instance, a Jaguar can swim and their main arteries feed blood to their muscles – no wonder its fast! One can be deceived by its beauty and forget how dangerous it can be. I so wanted to touch one but realised that was more like a death wish:) But we were safe and sound on the other side of the fence and everywhere there were signs such as, “Please be safe. Do not stand, sit, climb or lean on fences. If you fall, animal could eat you and that might make them sick.” Another one that made me smile was, “Please be safe. Tigers love kids but they are hard to digest so please stay back.”
I will definitely remember my trip to Jukani. It’s locked in my head thanks to Mike and all the other Love Knysna Project volunteers who contributed. Thank you to all of you for making it possible for us to fall in love with these animals.