A South African family are currently forced to shower outside and live in cramped trailers in order to provide their beloved tigers and lions with a home.
The Fernandes family, made up of mum Rosa and her children Justin and Maxine, once owned and ran the Jugomaro Predator Park, where they kept their big cats in luxurious conditions.
But sadly, the beautiful site, complete with swimming pools, jungle gyms, night rooms and trees for shelter and shade, was demolished in 2015 after the family got into financial difficulties. The liquidators gained control of the Fernandes family’s home and animal haven before discarding their belongings in a waste pile.
As a result, the family was forced to re-locate to a new piece of land but heartbreakingly, three tigers, two wolves and a catacle were lost in the move. Now, the family are living in an isolated trailer whilst their six lions, ten tigers, three caracals and jaguar live in smaller enclosures 50 metres away.
Rosa explains how the family first started to care for cats in their home, ‘we’ve been looking after animals for about 8 years now. We went to visit a farm one day and we came across a tiger. The mother was trying to get rid of it because he looked different to the other siblings and we actually felt so sorry for this tiger that we asked the owner if he would give us this cat. With a lot of love and dedication we nursed him back to health.’
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‘As the cats come into our lives we look after them, we treat them like our own children, we bring them in our own homes and generally take care of them as they come in and as they need rescuing.’
It’s clear that any animal taken in by the Fernandes family is showered with love and affection, and they are remaining positive that one day they will again be able to provide their cats with the luxurious lifestyle they were once used to.
Rosa says, ‘we’ve been living like this for exactly a year now. It would have been easy for us to just sell the cats to get back on our feet again but unfortunately for my family that wasn’t an option. We’d rather have nothing and have our cats.’
‘Future plans are we hope to find our own piece of land again to give my cats a better home, even if I have to stay in the caravan for another year.’
‘The most important thing is to give them all proper swimming pools and proper shelters and trees. That’s my dream for them.’
Watch the video above to discover how the family care for their huge collection of big cats on a daily basis!