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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Kruger National Park - Canned Lions?

Ive got Kruger on my mind.  10 days in the north of Kruger booked.

~ Bushwalk with the lion cubs of Tshukudu Game Reserve ~

These cubs were rescued, and brought up by a Labrador as their surrogate mother. They were extremely playful, but their instinct to be predators prevailed. I was not able to isolate myself from this group, or they wanted to 'hunt; me. Any jerseys, bags (or my camera) had to be kept away from their (playful) need to take ownership of it. was a very memorable experience indeed!

We posted the above picture on the Africa Geographic  Facebook page, and the question was asked if its ethically the right thing to do to walk with wild animals, and more importantly, are they being raised for canned lion hunting or any other sort of cruel activity that we are not aware of.  We contacted our friends at Tshukudu Game Reserve and received the followng feedback:

Dear Juanita, Alex and Africa Geographic,
Thank you for your e-mail.

I only received your e-mail today (29 June 2011), and thank goodness I received it.

Jaco who is our head ranger only opens him mail every so often and thought it was spam. This is absolutely ridiculous and false in every way possible. Poor Monique is incorrect and her facts are totally off.

We have an amazing reputation in our area and are internationally known for our work with orphaned animals and rehabilitation. The family has done so much for wildlife and fought many concerns with laws in the country to have proper control and measures in place to weed out people who just abuse their rights and animals. Only the best form of conservation is displayed and practiced. I can’t believe someone would want to taint our good name and reputation with false accusations such as this.

Monique is incorrect and I would advise that she first gets her facts right before jumping to conclusions. Its seems as if she has a problem with Tshukudu and its members. I do not think she actually knows what she is talking about. +- 15 years ago Carte Blanche published a report about canned lion hunting in which Tshukudu was falsely implicated by showing our entrance gate (We had nothing to do with the content of the program) subsequently they published a full apology for doing so. We also took the Cook Report to court (They made the report) for the damage they had done to our reputable name. The producer then fled back to Britain and we got an apology as false information was reported once a proper investigation had taken place.

People don’t remember the good but seem to remember only the bad. At no point did any of our orphaned animals get hunted, in fact our first orphan Sumba died a few years ago at the ripe old age of 20 in our breeding camps/old age home. Sunshine & Matimba our second and third orphaned animals respectively are now 19 & 17 and in spite of their age just had a cub – Surely a sign of good care... Our orphan’s are not exploited and only exposed to tourists once a day in the early morning for the walk. The rest of the day they are left in peace and are well looked after.

When they reach maturity and are too big to handle safely, they are then taken to our camps/retirement home where they are looked after until their dying day. Their offspring are either released into our game reserve as they would be wild or sold to other reserves which include National reserves, Addo Elephant Park, Khalahari National Park, Pinda and many more. If what you state would be true, Nature Conservation would not have given us numerous lions to care for and look after.

I would put it down to misinformed! I will clearly state once again that Tshukudu has nothing to do with lion hunting, canned hunting ect. Of any sorts. I hope that the above is in order and that everyone is able to understand it. Thank you again for your time and letting us know what had be said. Monique is welcome to contact me on the below details at any time to discuss any matter pertaining to orphaned or rehabilitated animals.

Enjoy your day! Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any queries.

Kind regards,
Patrick Sussens
GM: Operations
Tshukudu Game Lodge (near Kruger National Park) P.O.Box 289 Hoedspruit, 1380 Limpopo Province South Africa
Tel: ++27 (0)15 793 2476/ 1886, Fax: ++27 (0)15 793 2078
Web Site:

-------------------------------------------------------  UPDATE, cub petting:

It turns out that above is untrue and the family has been doing lion cub petting for a long time, and one has to wonder how long the same story can be told (dog looking after orphaned cubs) before questions do get asked.  Needless to say the family do offer opportunities to hunt lions

~ Nyala Bull, picture taken in the Pafuri area, Kruger National Park ~

~ Crooks Corner, most northern corner of Kruger National Park ~

This is where the visitor can see from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique across the Limpopo river.  The criminals used this location as a hide out from the law when poaching.  Many crocodiles in this area were seen on this day.


  1. I sincerely hope this blogger has now realised her error.

    Number one rule - never believe the actual facility who want you to believe them and do your research... Tshukudu has a long history and if you research the name Sussens and canned hunting, you will learn that this family were involved in canned hunting when it was originally exposed by Gareth Patterson in 1997 in the Cook Report.

    I hope your lesson has been learned in believing the wrong people and not listening to the feedback from the public. Very naive.

    1. Now they offer walks with cheetahs. Involved in breeding lions for a very long time, they stopped recently.