A stitch in time saves big cats

2019-04-16 06:00
Some of the stuffed animals made in aid to raise funds for big cats sanctuaries

Some of the stuffed animals made in aid to raise funds for big cats sanctuaries

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Two Camps Bay High School learners have taken on a huge project to help raise funds for lions, tigers and other big cats known to South Africa.

The #ForTheLoveOfLions project is one that is run by 15-year-olds Drew Goldie and Sebastian Byrnes. They have been youth ambassadors for the Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary since 2016. “We have been actively involved in campaigning and fundraising for big cats. Our main goal is to reach out to our peers and other youth,” Goldie says.

“Inspiring, teaching and educating people about the plight of big cats in captivity in South Africa or worldwide also forms part of the aim for this campaign.”

In order to raise funds, the duo sells handmade stuffed animals – lions and tigers – which are hand-stitched by members of the Raising Rhino People Project.

“The Raising Rhino People Project is a skill, employment and awareness programme that has been created to work with local and rural communities in the country,” Byrnes says.

The fabric used to make these stuffed animals were donations from local businesses, friends and family.

The items sell for R620, which excludes postage fees, and half of these proceeds are donated to a big cat sanctuary of the buyer’s choice. In the past five months the duo have managed to raise more than R10 000 which was donated to big cat sanctuaries.

“The beneficiaries we currently support include Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in Limpopo, Drakenstein Lion Park in Paarl, and the Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary in Stanford. We are looking to expanding and approaching other big cat sanctuaries in the future,” Goldie explains.

She says the response through social media has been overwhelming.

“A pride of 10 handmade big cats is launched each month on the Facebook page and people can ‘adopt’ them,” she explains.

Byrnes says that more than 63 handmade big cats have found their way all over the world. “Each handmade lion, lioness or tiger is numbered and one-of-a-kind. We pride ourselves in the unique quality. We also provide for custom-made orders,” he concludes.

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