Eyes of SWILD

  Harnas Wildlife Reserve - Namibia

Walk with the animals...

Harnas Wildlife Reserve is a 10,000 acre ranch in southwest Namibia dedicated to the raising orphaned South African wildlife. Their front lawn, shown here, has a zoo of animals walking freely around.

Petras - gamekeeper

The reserve is staffed by volunteers, mainly German students in their twenties. Petras had the instinct to become their lion gamekeeper. He's does sport a grizzly 4 inch scar across his chest from a friendly lion swipe.

Lion walk

Harnas offers lion and leopard walks for visiting guests. Two gamekeepers and two lions with two guests go out for a walk on the ranch. Petras has to take his hat off so the lions will recognize him. Guests must be very wary, and must never turn their back to any animal.

Is she hnugry?

I have seen many lions in zoos as a kid, on TV, and even very close up on safari. Nothing beats staring into a lions eyes from just a few feet away. I wonder if they are thinking about their next meal.

Cheetahs galore

A number of cheetahs are keep on the house grounds by the kitchen. They can be petted (very carefully). As with all semi-tame animals, they always have a wild streak left in them.

Feeding the cheetahs

Petras can be seen here feeding the cheetahs at dusk. The noise is incredible as the hierarchy of the pack is acted out with ferocious snarls as the lumps of fresh meat are thrown into the air.

Sorting the seal meat

The Harnas volunteer gamekeepers sort out the seal meat to be fed to the lions. The fresh horse and antelope is saved for the more finicky animals that prefer the sweeter flesh.

Prepping the kudu

The local Namibian workers prep a gazelle like animal for the band saw. Two full sized animals a day and one seal is needed to feed all the animals on the reserve.

Bandsawing the horses

Chopping up the horse on the band saw can be quite icky. Still, the animals have to be fed. Just make sure you watch your fingers.

These two (of four) orphaned cheetahs are extremely playful. They'll jump in your lap, and a split second later claw up your shirt and leap off to the next adventure.

Adopted 12 week cheetah

Paul adopted a 12 week old orphaned cheetah. Four baby cheetahs were rescued by a farmer and brought to the reserve at 6 weeks old. The adopter pays for medicine and food every six months.

All the baby cheetahs are bottle fed. Even at this size, they can get a little snappy for such an adorable animal. When they lick you, their tongues are like rough sand paper.

These lions are kept behind the kitchen of the ranch. They have much larger pens out back where there's over 10,000 acres to roam.

Lion petting

Paul can be seen here petting the semi-tame lions. Again, its always best if they are relaxing in the shade. And you should never turn your back. A very SWILD moment.