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An ex-volunteer has come forward to share new information from Jan Walter Slippers’ farm in Limpopo Province where animal exploitation and neglect was recently revealed.

Photo of wild leopard sourced on Creative Commons ©antti.keskitalo

“One of the workers kept coming every few days, saying he needed chicken, so I presumed he needed it for Layla, their ‘house lion’ and I walked up to their house (they were away again). The worker said if I was quiet he would show me what they were for.

“There were seven wild leopards in a concrete shed at the back of their house. The leopards were separated by two rooms – both of no more than 6m² each. The animals were aggressive, scared and several were injured – it was terrifying. I’m afraid I vomited on the spot I was so horrified. I had heard a truck late at night leaving and returning, and I was told by two of the workers that Walter would get phone calls from farmers with problem leopards and go to trap them and put them in this shed for American hunters to shoot in hunting season.

“I took photos but later that week my phone went missing and several photos had been deleted when it randomly turned up again in my room. The two workers came and said they were sorry they lied. I had told the nature conservation representative, Lyle Wiggins, about the leopards and a week later when I was sure they were away again, I crept to the shed and discovered it empty and the walls bloodstained. He obviously told Walter and the leopards were removed somehow.”

These incidents again highlight the urgent need for the authorities to address the canned or captive hunting industry. In the meantime, South Africa’s reputation as a responsible tourism and hunting destination continues to be eroded.

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