From a dream to a reality
While providing, managing and working closely with eight different species of predators, I observed and experienced each species’ uniqueness and capabilities, and realised that protecting and caring for big cats is my calling in life. The foundation for Panthera Africa was laid, and the desire to rescue and care for the big cats in need powered my already big love, passion and admiration for them!
My eagerness to educate myself led me to learn about the truth about captive breeding, exploitation of big cats and illegal wildlife trade. Through my story and amazing connection with my ambassador animals, I aim to reach the hearts of thousands so everyone can understand how amazing these animals are, and that they should be respected and protected.
Cathrine S. Nyquist
My magical journey
I used to be one of those typical business ladies with a degree in business and finance, climbing the career ladder, enjoying the jet set life with wining and dining, and having the freedom to travel the world. In September 2011 I was going to start what I was sure was my dream job – a broker in the most up and coming commercial real estate company in Oslo. Two weeks before start up, I sat on a plane to South Africa and was going to volunteer at a breeding project. Little did I know that this choice was going to change my life in every possible way.
After two additional trips to the project, I permanently moved to South Africa in May 2012, and started to assist Lizaene with all her tasks. My days were quickly filled with lots of work and the best thing of all – a lot of indescribable animal time. I was living in a magical world, falling in love every single day with three small furry friends that captured my heart and soul. Little did I know that one of the lions I fell in love with was going away to a breeding and trading farm, and the thought of this place’s possible connection with the canned hunting industry tore my world apart. However hard this separation was, I am grateful for the fire this little lion started inside of me, – to save him and all the other lions that are a part of this unethical industry.
Today I have started this project and I am following my dream of saving the big cats. I feel truly blessed to have found my purpose in life, and that I can now make use of my experience from the business world to do what I have dreamt of for so long – uniting for the survival of the lions that have stolen my heart and soul.
Volunteer Manager and Animal Caretaker
Taryn Shanna Blows
Head Animal Caretaker
As I was driving up to the farm for the first time, I felt a sense of calmness come over me. From the moment I stepped in to the office I was greeted with warmth and hospitality. I then knew with all my heart that I was at the right place at the right time of my life and that I wanted this position with all my heart. I realized right away that the number one priority at Panthera Africa was to give a voice to the voiceless and I am proud to say that I have been fortunate enough to form part of the team.
I originally came to Panthera Africa as a volunteer in 2017. I instantly fell in love with the team, the animals and the ethos of the sanctuary. Straight away, I knew I wanted to become part of the team. After two years gaining experience in other true sanctuaries and animal welfare charities, Cat and Liz invited me back, and that was probably one of the best days of my life! I am so grateful to be surrounded by an incredible team of like-minded people where I can truly be myself, and to have the privilege of walking beside these amazing big cats every day. My aim is to give every volunteer who joins us an experience like mine, as it completely changed my life, in more ways than one!
I had the privilege of visiting Panthera Africa with my children and friends from out of town on more than one occasion. I was in awe of these incredible animals and the hardships they had overcome, and of the sanctuary, its staff and founders. When I saw the post being advertised for the marketing manager position, I knew in my heart that it was meant to be! Knowing that in some way I contribute to their well-being and walking with purpose in my heart every day, is the best gift anyone could ever ask for.
From the moment I set foot at Panthera Africa, met the team and got to know the big cats, I instantly fell in love. They truly inspired me to share this amazing love for the well-being of these big cats. At Panthera Africa I met a family that share the same vision and mission and I am so lucky to be a part of this family. Thanks to Liz and Cat I get to live new adventures and I am truly thankful for the
opportunity and the future ahead.
My love for animals brought me here the first time in April 2017 as a volunteer and just like everyone else I fell in love with the project, both the human and animal pride. I felt such a deep connection to the place and just at home here so I came back four more times as a volunteer, and by that time I think they realized that they couldn’t get rid of me so why not have me here permanently? So when they asked me if I wanted to join as a volunteer coordinator my immediate response was yes.
Our House Residents
Tarzan (9 November 2015)
Kira (8 August 2015)
Leonardo aka Leo (Born 1 September 2016)
Orion (Born 2 June 2018)
Buddha (Born 2 June 2018)
Scorgo (12 September 2002 – 17 October 2017)
Neo (17 October 2014 – April 2018)
They say every feeling and thought that you have is somehow a signal from the universe… When Lizaene got up this morning she had a feeling that we should visit our local animal welfare shelter. On arrival she immediately noticed a kitten in a wendy house and the forces of nature pulled her excited heart closer. That’s when we saw this tortoise shell tubby kitten, named Maya. She was rescued from a local honey factory where she was trying to fight off two German shepherds for food. Without a doubt her brave and cheeky personality shone through and we knew she would be the newest member of our pride.
On our way home we were thinking about all the new beginnings we are granted in life, and that now she is also given a new beginning, this is why we decided to name her Neo which means “New beginnings”.