CapeNature explains why Simba was put down

CapeNature Simba euthanised

For weeks, animal lovers across the country have been wondering what happened to Simba, the lion cub who was found in an Athlone home on August 21. On Wednesday, December 4, CapeNature confirmed that they euthanised the little lion after a Durban journalist publically announced that a reliable source had confirmed the cat was put down on the same day he was “taken to a place of safety”.

“CapeNature has been faced with one of the hardest decisions to make in conservation as a result of the illegal behaviour of three local men. A wild lion cub of approximately four months old was euthanised by a professional veterinarian with CapeNature’s support and sanction,” Loren Povitt, Acting General Manager of CapeNature, said in a statement. “This action is in line with international best practice guidelines as recommended by the IUCN and CITES, with clear guidelines in terms of the disposal or placement of illegally traded or wild animals confiscated during law enforcement operations. CapeNature stands by the decision taken.”

According to the organisation, it carefully considered the options of releasing Simba back into the wild or place it into an institution where the appropriate level of care would be achieved, but these were not found to be viable or “in line with sound conservation principles”.

“In this case it was clear that the cub was treated as a pet and habituated to humans and would be impossible to rehabilitate to a healthy natural behavioural state. Although there are facilities for keeping lions in captivity in the WCP and SA, there are no rehabilitation facilities for lions in SA,” Povitt maintained. “There are no successful cases of lions that have been rehabilitated and successfully released into the wild. In fact, the National Parliamentary colloquium on captive lion breeding and hunting in South Africa – supports this and recommends no more lions find their way into permanent captivity.”

“It must be stressed that CapeNature did not take this decision lightly, and shares the public’s sadness that this was even necessary,” she added.

According to Dr Ernst Baard, Executive Director of Conservation Operations for CapeNature, the organisation has the obligation to look past the individual perspective and evaluate what is best for the species overall. “This places CapeNature in the position to sometimes make hard decisions which are not always popular with or understood by the public,” he said.

The three suspects found in possession of Simba are aged 28, 29 and 31, were arrested on August 27, 2019.  They appeared in the Wynberg Magistrates Court on November27, on charges of possession of a protected wild animal. Their bail has been extended to February 2020.

“The moment these suspects removed the animal from its natural habitat they issued its death sentence as there was no other viable outcome. This decision, taken with the veterinary physician, was very difficult for CapeNature. We will continue to work alongside the South African Police Service to punish the perpetrators,” Baard said.

Why didn’t CapeNature try other options like rehabilitation or captivity?

Rehabilitation means that the animal will be released back into the wild (into the original habitat/area where he was found).  In this case the lion cub was strongly habituated to humans and would be unable to fend for itself in the wild.  It will most likely continually seek out human company.  The origin of the animal was also unknown, which would make rehabilitation/release back into the wild a problematic option. The success of integrating a very young cub into an established, unrelated lion pride is also very doubtful.

Captivity means the animal would live out his days within confinement. Sending the animal to a place of captivity was not a viable option as CapeNature does not support this in terms of our Ordinance and guidelines / protocols relating to the placement of confiscated wild animals.

“CapeNature received the offer from Drakenstein Lion Park and others, after the lion cub was euthanised, however, it should be noted that there are no approved rehabilitation facilities for lions in South Africa, and that existing facilities where lions can be kept, operate as a commercial ventures where animals are displayed to the public for an admission fee,” Povitt said. “Since the National Parliamentary colloquium, read with our guidelines in such matters, does not support the perpetuation of lions into captive facility nor the deriving of any profit to be gained from seized wildlife, awarding this lion to any commercial facility was not considered a viable conservation option.”

Why not give the lion cub to someone to care for as a pet?

Wild animals, especially large predators, are not suitable as pets and the situation invariably ends badly for the animal. Attacks on humans are not uncommon, notably by lions kept and raised in captivity.

Is there an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the lion’s death?

There have been reports that a charge has been laid against CapeNature with the South African Police Services. CapeNature has not been notified of such action. The court process against the three accused is still underway and as such, there may be ongoing investigative processes relating to this case specifically.

What is CapeNature’s position as the conservation authority for the Western Cape?

In principle, CapeNature does not support the placement of wild animals in captivity.

“We urge members of the public to not remove wild animals out of their habitat (even if you think you are helping), but rather contact CapeNature or your nearest conservation office to assist if you are concerned. By taking a wild animal into your house, you are doing a huge disservice to the animal and the species as a whole; the individual which in all likelihood will become habituated to humans and, based on examples, will never be able to lead a normal life again. Removing an animal from the wild without due authorisation is also a contravention of the CapeNature Ordinance and illegal in the Western Cape,” Povitt said.

Picture: Pixabay
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Fires May Have Killed Up To 1,000 Koalas, Fueling Concerns Over The Future Of The Species

An injured koala receives treatment

An injured koala receives treatment after its rescue from a bushfire at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital on November 19, 2019 in Port Macquarie, Australia. Shelan/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Since publication, the headline and lede of this story have been changed to better reflect the content of the reporting, and some clarifications have been made.

As Australia experiences record-breaking drought and bushfires, koala populations have dwindled along with their habitat, leaving one group claiming the species is “functionally extinct,” though not all koala experts accept this claim.

The chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, Deborah Tabart, estimates that over 1,000 koalas have been killed from the fires and that 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed.

Recent bushfires, along with prolonged drought and deforestation, has led to koalas becoming “functionally extinct,” according to the Australian Koala Foundation. However, some researchers call into question that prediction, noting how difficult it is to measure total koala populations and populations could be a much larger than estimated by the AKF.

Shaded areas indicate koala habitats

Shaded areas indicate koala habitats –

Functional extinction is when a population becomes so limited that they no longer play a significant role in their ecosystem and the population becomes no longer viable. While some individuals could reproduce, the limited number of koalas makes the long-term viability of the species unlikely and highly susceptible to disease.

Deforestation and bushfires destroy the main nutrient source of koalas, the eucalyptus tree. An adult koala will eat up to 2 pounds of eucalyptus leaves per day as its main staple of nutrients. While eucalyptus plants will grow back after a fire, it will take months, leaving no suitable food source for koalas and starvation a likely scenario for many.

Many are urging the Australian government to enact the Koala Protection Act, written in 2016 but never passed into law and molded after the Bald Eagle Protection Act in the U.S. The Koala Protection Act would work to protect habitats and trees vital to koalas as well as protect koalas from hunting.

Recent viral videos of Australians rescuing koalas has led to increased donation to support hospitalization and help for burned koalas.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital setup a Go Fund Me page seeking donations to help the hospital treat injured koalas. To date, they have raised $1.33 million, well over their $25,000 goal. This comes from over 30,000 donors.

Part of their effort is to install drinking stations for koalas in areas devastated by the fires. The funds will also be used for a “Koala Ark” as a refuge for burned koalas to live in a healthy habitat during rehabilitation.

Written by: Trevor Nace

18,000-Year-Old Puppy Found Frozen In Ice Could Be ‘Oldest Confirmed Dog’ Ever

18000 Year Old Puppy

An 18,000-year-old puppy discovered frozen in ice could be the ‘oldest confirmed dog’ in history.

Researchers in Sweden have shared incredible photos of the ancient canine after finding it in the Siberian permafrost in summer last year.

After studying it, they aren’t sure whether the ‘amazingly well-preserved’ creature (with a full set of teeth) is a dog or wolf – possibly because it comes from the point where dogs were domesticated.

18000 Year Old Puppy

Love Dalén, 44, and his colleague Dave Stanton, 34, believe it could be the earliest confirmed dog. If true, it could be invaluable in teaching us about when wolves were domesticated.

The researchers’ Russian colleagues have called the male creature ‘Dogor’ – a pun on ‘dog or wolf’. While it’s thousands of years old, and has an exposed rib cage, Dalén said it feels like a ‘very recently dead animal’.

18000 Year Old Puppy

Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genetics, said:

It was amazingly well preserved even before they cleaned it up. [When we found it] we didn’t know how old it was. They said they found it in the permafrost but it happens that things get frozen in there that are only a few hundred years old or even a few decades.

We were excited about it but we had a healthy dose of scepticism until we radiocarbon dated it. Obviously when we got the results that it was 18,000 years old, that changes everything. When we got that result it was amazing. 18,000 years ago is an interesting time period where we think a lot of stuff is happening with both wolves and dogs genetically.

We cannot separate it from a modern wolf, Pleistocene [Ice Age] wolf or dog. One reason why it might be difficult to say is because this one is right there at the divergence time. So it could be a very early modern wolf or very early dog or a late Pleistocene wolf.

The specimen was found in a remote part of north-east Siberia a couple of hours from the nearest town Belaya Gora and remains in Russia while Dalén and Stanton study its rib bone back in Sweden.

18000 Year Old Puppy

According to Stanton, the dog was so well preserved because it was uncovered in a tunnel dug into the permafrost. For the researchers, it’s exciting they ‘might be able to contribute to something that’s been quite a big debate in the field for a long time’.

Stanton added:

I feel fairly nervous about messing something up in the lab. You don’t want to screw it up. It seems that dogs were domesticated from a lineage of wolves that went extinct. So that’s why it’s such a difficult problem to work on to understand where and when dogs were domesticated.

If you want to find the answer to that you need to look at ancient samples because the population they were domesticated from doesn’t appear to be around anymore. It’s specimens like this that could help clear that up but we don’t have the results yet to speculate on that.

After carefully removing dirt from the animal’s fur, Sergey Fedorov, 58, who’s working on it back in Russia, took the photos of the pup.

While its spine and ribs being exposed wasn’t ideal, he said it’s still ‘amazing… to see, touch and feel the history of Earth’.

18000 Year Old Puppy

After carefully removing dirt from the animal’s fur, Sergey Fedorov, 58, who’s working on it back in Russia, took the photos of the pup.

While its spine and ribs being exposed wasn’t ideal, he said it’s still ‘amazing… to see, touch and feel the history of Earth’.

Fedorov added:

Just imagine, this puppy has been lying underground in the same pose and condition for 18,000 years without being disturbed at all. I really carefully removed the dirt and other debris stuck to its body step by step, revealing a wonderful condition fur which is extremely rare for animals of that time period.

Written by: Cameron Frew

Give your pooch the right treats this festive season


You love your pooch just as much as any other family so you have no intention of excluding them during your festivities because everyone deserves a treat this festive season, especially your furry friends.

Whether it is a yummy treat, a new bed or a fun new toy, it is important to make sure the gifts are safe for your furry friend. Pedigree advises on dangerous gifts or treats you should avoid giving your pets because a trip to the veterinarian hospital is a sure way to ruin your festivities

  • Meat bones. It is probably at the top of their Christmas wish list but we know mom and dad always know best so avoid treating your dogs to raw or cooked turkey, chicken or any meat bones. Bone fragments can serve as a choking hazard and could possibly shatter or splinter in your dog’s intestinal tract and cause intestinal blockage.
  • Dangerous toys. Sometimes not all toys are safe for pets so avoid giving your pooch balls that are too small, toys with string or ribbon, or toys stuffed with beads or beans as these could serve as choking hazards
  • Rich/fatty leftovers. As human, we over-indulge during the festive season and we assume our pups deserve a bit of an indulgence too. However, some of the ingredients in your food may contain garlic, onions and raisins, which cause digestive complications and leftovers could lead to severe complications such as pancreatitis. If you feel obliged to give your pup a taste of your holiday dinner, make a smaller portion that doesn’t contain any toxic, rich or fatty ingredients.
  • Chocolate – “Mom said chocolate isn’t good for dogs but you can have the rest of my milk”, is definitely a saying that stuck with us all growing up. Sadly, chocolate and other caffeinated food and drinks contain a substance called theobromine which is toxic to dogs causing nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, heart problems, muscle tremors and seizures. The darker the chocolate, the higher the levels of theobromine so hide away the advent calendars and chocolate gifts.
  • Sugar-free baked goods or candy – don’t be tempted to share your ginger breadman or shortbread biscuits with your pet as it may contain a sugar substitute called xylitol, which is another toxic ingredient for dogs that causes their blood sugar levels to drop.

So, instead of opting for treats that maybe harmful to your furry friend opt for a Christmas sock filled with Pedigree’s treat range. Maintain their dental health during these festive season with Pedigree DentaStix and treat them with the recommended dose of Rodeo and Tasty Bites treats to show them just how much you love them during the festive season.

Source Pedigree

Compassion Fatigue For Animals Rescuers: What You Should Know Before You Judge

Compassion Fatigue

We live in a society that is often quick to judge others for their actions. We don’t always do this on purpose, but sometimes when we do not understand a situation we are quick to throw stones. For someone that dedicates their life or a large portion of their life to rescuing and rehabilitating animals, it is no easy feat. This takes perseverance, dedication and, most of all, thick skin. And for some people, it comes with devastating compassion fatigue. 

People who rescue animals from hoarding situations know the horrors of animal abuse all too well.

And sadly, brushing that off at the end of the day is no easy task. It’s difficult for an animal lover, let alone an animal rescuer, not to feel pain knowing the tragedy an animal has endured. It’s something that you carry with you, and you try your best to ensure that as long as that animal is in your care, you never want them to feel pain like that ever again.

But what about the next animal, and the animal after that? As we know there is an epidemic of homeless and displaced in this world, so how can an animal care worker ever feel as if their work is “done” at the end of the day?

Compassion Fatigue

For animal care professionals, this constant stress and worry is known as compassion fatigue.

As it’s defined in this informational PDF, it gives a clear view into the mind of what these passionate people might feel after some time–and even more so on those difficult days and heart-wrenching abuse cases…

The “double-edged sword” phenomenon of working in the animal care industry. You’ve dedicated your life to making a positive difference for animals. But the emotional stress is draining, exhausting and taking a toll on you. You can’t imagine doing anything else with your life, but outside of your work, do you have a life?

Your work is in the animal care industry, not necessarily because you’ve chosen to, but because it’s chosen you. You cannot exist without doing all that you can to care for and save animals. You love what you do. But the heartbreak and emotional strain on you is sometimes too much to bear. There is a term for all of this, it’s called Compassion Fatigue (further referenced as CF). And it is normal, and very real.

Not only does CF dominate your professional life, but it always rears its head in your personal life.

It’s sleepless nights, exhaustion, acute sadness, depression, isolation from friends, a life that feels out of balance, rides on emotional roller-coasters, and anger towards people in general for the terrible ways in which they treat animals.

Dr. Robert G. Roop is the President of the Humane Society University and author of Compassion Fatigue in the Animal-Care Community. CF is most prevalent in the animal care field than in any other field. Why is this?

He believes that it is the sheer volume of animals, of beings, that animal care workers deal with on a daily basis. Unlike physicians for humans, or psychologists or counselors, people in the animal care field, specifically in shelters and rescues, can be caring for up to 500 animals a day in some cases. The number of lives and suffering that one is exposed to is much higher than in human care fields. This creates a burden on the heart and soul of the caregiver. Everyone responds differently to these stresses and everyone has different coping skills available to them.

Psychology Today took time to research this phenomenon for animal care givers. And their results resonated to what was mentioned above: the work is never done.

Our minds get satisfaction once tasks are completed, and sadly when it comes to the animal rescue world, the work truly never ends.

Compassion Fatigue

Compassion fatigue clearly exists in the world of animal welfare. But it is also present in the human healthcare world. Specifically, those professionals who dedicate their lives to helping the sick and injured. One thing is certain. It is never our right to judge their efforts, because we only see what exists at surface level.

One of the main issues for those experiencing compassion fatigue is that it manifests itself without the person even realizing that this is, in fact, what they are dealing with:

“People don’t always recognize compassion fatigue,” says Jeff Boehm, executive director of the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, the largest marine mammal rehabilitation center in the world.

Thankfully, there is a support system in place for those dealing with this issue, and it’s known as the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project.

Founded by Patricia Smith, its mission is “to promote an awareness and understanding of Compassion Fatigue and its effect on caregivers.

Smith’s goal is to spread awareness for the project and for those who are living with compassion fatigue to feel supported and be taken seriously:

“Not only do [animal welfare workers] suffer daily in the work they do, they also often deal with the public’s total disregard and criticism of their work. Shelter work was one of the most distressing and sorrow-filled work I’ve ever done.”

(If you’d like to learn more about what compassion fatigue is, the project website has a detailed description here.)

Below is a heartbreaking example of the very real trauma that these rescuers experience, and hopefully it can shed more light to this subject of compassion fatigue for animal rescuers…

Compassion Fatigue

Next time you think of compassion fatigue and stop to wonder if it is real, think of your own cat(s) in your home that you call your own.

Perhaps they entered your life by way of an animal rescue or shelter? Know that others cared for them, likely nursed them back to health, and that yours was one of the lucky survivors. All because of the kindhearted, selfless volunteers/underpaid workers that helped them along the way. Consider yourself lucky that someone cared that much to give them the second chance they deserved!

And if you happen to be a person who rescues animal, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you do for animals in need. You are the real heroes.

Compassion Fatigue

Want To Know The Signs Of Compassion Fatigue? Read Below…

How to Know if you are in Trouble – Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue:


When you are constantly exposed to harsh, painful realities (trauma) and you are not able to debrief (to talk about what happened and how you feel about it), all that you stuff inside builds up into a reservoir, until you are exhausted, or angry, or feel like you’ll explode, or feel that you hate all people, or you’ve lost your enthusiasm, joy, and hope. 

  • You can feel depressed and want to quit your job, feeling stuck in depression.
  • You may have sudden outbursts of anger.
  • May feel sad, with your tears always just below the surface. Many long-time workers are experiencing long-term grief
  • You may feel cynical, or numb, or hardened, like nothing phases you.
  • May be having nightmares or flashbacks (where you repeatedly see images of suffering animals from the past).
  • You may switch back and forth. One minute feeling angry, the next minute numb, the next minute sad, the next minute depressed. 


  • Feeling isolated from family and friends.
  • You may have problems relating to your co-workers or the public.
  • You may snipe at others, be aggressive, sarcastic, uncooperative.
  • May notice your usual high productivity is now low, or you are frequently late to work, or accident prone.


  • You may feel exhausted or ill.
  • Frequent health problems may develop.
  • You may have difficulty sleeping, difficulty breathing.
  • You may start abusing alcohol, food, drugs (or doing other destructive behavior) to suppress your feelings.


  • You may have difficulty concentrating, difficulty making decisions.
  • Your thoughts may race.


  • You may feel hopeless or cynical.


Source: Cole and Marmalade

Pasco County school first in world to use synthetic frogs for dissections

A school in New Port Richey will be the first in the world to use synthetic frogs for dissections on Wednesday.

J.W. Mitchell High School will use the realistic man-made frogs as a replacement for dead, preserved ones.

The frogs, called SynFrog, are developed by SynDaver, which is headquartered in Tampa. They develop synthetic human and animal models used for education, surgical simulation and medical device testing. Each frog is worth $150 each, it’s a lot more than the real thing.

“The Pasco County School District is committed to being a leader in innovation and opportunity for students, so we are excited to announce that Mitchell High School is the first in the world to use SynFrogs in science labs, giving our students a learning experience no other students have ever had,” said Kurt Browning, Pasco County Superintendent of Schools.

The synthetic frogs mimic the visual and textural properties for a live female frog, according to SynDaver.

“We’re excited to announce our revolutionary SynFrog, which is a far superior learning tool as it is designed to mimic living tissue. This makes it more like a live frog than the preserved specimens currently sold to schools for dissection labs,” said Dr. Christopher Sakezles, founder and CEO of SynDaver.

“SynFrog not only looks and feels like a real frog, it’s physically safer to dissect than a real preserved frog because it doesn’t contain potentially harmful chemicals like formalin,” Sakezles said. “We commend Pasco County Schools for taking this monumental step to advance science education, and we want to thank PETA for their funding support, which helped with the initial development phase of the product and enabled us to deliver it faster than previously anticipated.”

People with the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) came up with $150000 to help the company speed up the development of the frog. They say one million frogs are killed for classroom use every year.

SynDaver says their patented synthetic tissues are made of water, fibers and salts. They are reuseable and chemical-free.

Source: ABC Action News