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Wildlife Sanctuary Owner Mourns Death Of Four Big Cats Poisoned By Poachers

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A wildlife sanctuary owner got very emotional when he found several of the big cats in their wildlife sanctuary were dying from apparent poisoning. None of the victims survived, and he suspects it is a case of intended poaching.

Wildlife Sanctuary Deaths

It was around 2 a.m. when South African owner of a wildlife sanctuary, Justin Fernandes, was alerted to danger by his howling wolves at the predator park. Upon checking on his big cats, the 32-year-old found that three of his lions and one rare tiger cub were attacked, as two were already dead while the other two were foaming at the mouth. They were apparently poisoned with a substance that could kill a rhinoceros with just a teaspoon.

Evidently, his three lions Elvis, Hercules, and Taariq, as well as his very rare golden tabby tiger cub, Kai, were poisoned by poachers. Fernandes was able to disturb the poachers before they could remove body parts, but he says it is likely that they were planning to get their heads, teeth, and claws to sell to witch doctors who would use them for black magic.

Unfortunately, though he urged the two to retch out the poison, none of the four big cats survived.

Predator Park

Fernandes runs the predator park with his sister and parents, and they take care of the big cats who were bought as cubs but were abandoned by their owners once they started becoming the big predators that they are. Though the family struggles to survive financially as they take care of the big cats, their main aim is to provide a home for them.

Unfortunately, Kai, the golden tabby tiger cub, was one of the only 30 remaining members of his species. They are listed as the third rarest creatures on Earth.

Poaching In Africa

Poaching remains to be one of the most rampant problems to affect the wildlife of Africa. In most cases, the animals are illegally slaughtered for various body parts such as their skins and horns to make clothes, jewelry, meat, figurines, various trinkets, and medicines even though they are not proven to be effective cures.

In fact, the demand for rhino horn is so high that a pound of it sells for about $30,000 compared to gold, which sells for about $22,000 a pound. Since 1960, the black rhino population has dropped by over 97 percent, while fewer than a thousand mountain gorillas remain alive. What’s more, in one year, up to 35,000 African elephants are killed mainly for the illegal ivory trade, 70 percent of which goes straight to China.

Apart from the illegal killings to sell the animals’ body parts, some are killed by farmers in retaliation for the animals’ eating their livestock when it is habitat loss due to human area expansion that has caused them to be so near in proximity to one another.

Because of such practices, many iconic African animals are already vulnerable, if not already on the brink of extinction. Some may even go completely extinct within this lifetime.

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