Zanchieta is a sanctuary to a few lions. Once in captivity, lions cannot lawfully be released to the wild as they are too trusting of humans, and not practiced in survival skills. Therefore, the lions will remain at the sanctuary for the duration of their lives. Zanchieta does not believe in breeding, cub petting, lion trading, selling, or canned hunting. We are a “forever home” and safe-haven for the animals we rescue. At Zanchieta you can find male, female, brown, and white lions. Each lion has a unique story which requires them to remain under our care and protection.
Zanchieta works closely with the Free State department of Nature Conservation. Nature Conservation at times brings new rescue animals to the property after confiscating them without permits from private residences, and at times animals will be kept safely at Zanchieta while court disputes settle on their behalf.
In the wild, big cats eat large meals infrequently, but here at Zanchieta all of our cats get fed daily, in smaller amounts. Our animals are quite dependent on donations for feeding. They are fed on donations from local farmers, meat which cannot be sold in markets due to packaging errors, and food purchased with money from generous financial donors.
The lions and cheetahs have separate feeding chambers at the front of their enclosures so that volunteers can clean the areas conveniently and without risk. The enclosures themselves are all notably larger than they are legally required to be, and the animals are never locked in their feeding chambers – they are free to roam the entirety of their enclosures.
Princess was born into a breeding facility as a child of incest, causing her to be cross-eyed. The facility kept her in an enclosure with tiger cubs, who teethed on her nose and ears. Her nose and ears never recovered or grew properly, likely causing issues with sensory perceptions. Nevertheless, she has fortunately found both peace and companionship here at Zanchieta. Kalahari and Okavango were born to breeders and would have been sold into a canned hunting facility, but were instead purchased by Zanchieta’s owner to be rescued. The brothers share an enclosure and get along very well. Zoltan and Zenobia were born and raised in captivity, so now they live happily here at Zanchieta, without risk of being sold.
There are three fully grown Cheetahs permanently residing at Zanchieta, two males named Dash and Flash, and our female, Diva. All three of these beautiful cats have all been with us since 2009. Each runts of their litters, their breeders were unable to secure buyers, until Zanchieta owner agreed to take them in.
Our establishment was created originally to give caracals Zani and Ghieta a home when they were only babies in 2007, after their mother was killed by a farmer. Zanchieta itself was named after those two cats. Since then many caracals have called Zanchieta their home.
Servals form an integral part of our animal family. Some had broken limbs or were born into captivity. Servals are very spontaneous and they tend to be playful with affectionate dispositions. Unlike many other cat species, Servals are known to prey on fish, and are therefore more comfortable in water. Servals like to spray and mark their territory, so watch your feet, they might just claim you as their own!
Our three blackback jackals; Jackie, Naledi, and Zoid can be found running, playing, and answering the lions with their iconic calls at sunrise and sunset. Naledi was orphaned in the wild after her family was taken in a car accident, Zoid had been caught by a farmer, and Jackie had been kept as a leashed pet with dogs before she found a home here.
Our other animals include meerkats such as Mia and Kabous who had been sterilized and kept as residential pets until their owner brought them to us, along with small spotted genets who were abandoned by their mothers in the wild, a one-winged Pied Crow, a number of vervet monkeys, a kestrel, red mongoose, and porcupines. There are many more animals in and out as we never turn away an animal in need. Any animals who are eligible for release, are released: it is our priority to give them the best lives possible.