Where Rescued Big Cats Feel At Home
A life changing experience, that you can't miss out on.
At Jukani our mission is to maintain and manage a sustainable wildlife sanctuary, with the focus on creating widespread awareness about the plight of large predators in captivity, in South Africa and all over the world. Tours take place from 9.00am to 4.00pm every day of the week, including Sundays. We are open on all public holidays including Christmas and New Years day. We conduct tours in all weather conditions. Tours depart every 15 to 20 minutes as clients arrive. All tours depart from the Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary reception area and they last around one and a half hours. On tour you are guided through the sanctuary by one of our highly skilled and very motivated guides who will not only give you an insight into all the animals at Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, but enable you to gain a better understanding of these creatures in the wild. After the tour, you are welcome to join another tour and as many tours during that day as you like, the nearby Puzzle Park Cafe serves cold drinks, coffee and tea, yummy cakes, light lunches and snacks, and our curio shop is well stocked with mementos of your visit. Meet Our Creatures · Cheetah · Zorilla · Raccoons · Honey Badger · Hyena · Tawny Lion · White Tiger · Zebra · Siberian Tiger · Bengal Tiger · White Lion · Leopard · Jaguar · Caracal · Serval · Puma
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Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary is home to big cats such as lions (white and tawny), cheetahs, tigers (Siberian, Bengal and white), leopard (spotted and black), jaguar, pumas, caracal, serval cats and other wildlife species such as zebra, wild dog, springbuck, zorilla, honey badger, raccoons and various snake species (which are housed separately).
At Jukani the focus is on conservation education and specifically the plight of large predators in captivity, in South Africa and all over the world. “Big cats” are extraordinary animals with a dangerous beauty that is both awe inspiring but also fearsome because of their power and ability to kill. However at most wildlife facilities various wildlife species and especially large predatory species are kept as a way of attracting visitors without regard for the animals’ physical and emotional needs, they are just commodities to attract visitors. The Jukani approach is one of respect for what each animal represents. All the female predator cats are on birth control, and the sanctuary is a no-touch facility.
Visiting Jukani is not just about viewing predator cats – it is also an informative experience. Our experienced and trained guides will take you on an tour of the sanctuary and introduce you to all the sanctuary inhabitants. Dictionaries define a sanctuary for animals as merely a place where animals are protected from hunting. A true sanctuary for “big cats” and other wildlife should, however, also be a place of refuge to protect them from much more than hunting and/or the petting trade.
Jukani has secured the future of all its predator cats and wildlife. The South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance (PBO Number 200/060 667/08), is the sole custodian of all the Jukani inhabitants. The Jukani sanctuary funds itself by means of responsible eco-tourism and we strive to achieve an effective balance between conservation and economic reality.
Jukani is situated 10km east of Plettenberg Bay next to the Plettenberg Bay Puzzle Park.
David Attenborough was quoted saying: “People are not going to care about animal conservation unless they think that animals are worthwhile.” At Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary we make our visitors aware of the plight “Big cats” face.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far is Jukani situated from Monkeyland and Birds of Eden?
Jukani is situated 10km from Monkeyland and Birds of Eden along the N2 towards Port Elizabeth.
Why are the animals in enclosures and not set free?
There are many reasons:
The animals at Jukani were born in captivity and they can’t be released into the wild because:
a) They can’t defend themselves from other wild predators even if they respect the territories of those other predators; they do not have the “street smarts” of the established wild predators. They will fall victim to these established predators which will see them as a threat and eliminate them and as they do not have these same “street smarts” they will lose the battle.
b) They don’t know how to hunt, but let’s say the instinct does kick in and they do learn (In a month or so before they starve), even their prey may be a threat to them. Buck are equipped with horns, Zebras have a nasty bite and can kick them, inflicting life threatening injuries.
c) By far their biggest threat is persecution by humans either because they will threaten human safety or will be killed as a result.
There is a huge amount of poaching that is taking place internationally and the black-market trade in predator species body parts has resulted in big cats being persecuted all over the world. Researchers have estimated that lions will be extinct in the wild in Africa in the next twenty years, all tiger sub species will be extinct within 15 years, several leopard species have only a few hundred left in the wild and jaguar numbers have dwindled from approximately 10,000 to less than 5,000 in the wild in a very short space of time. In the US Pumas are regarded by some people as problem animals and killed on sight and cheetahs are considered vermin by Namibian farmers.
Where is the wild?
It is a fact that in South Africa that just about every inch of land is owned by someone. That person has a fence around their property. Is it a fence that will keep a predator out? – NO. Sadly that leaves us with a fence to keep a predator in.
It is a pity that the world has changed so much, but we have gone passed the tipping point for most predators. 100 Years ago, cities & towns were small and far apart. Pieces of land were unclaimed or unfenced areas where no farming took place. You hardly had any human / predator conflict. Predators could roam freely. Now, think about the urban sprawl, people moving around easier with highways, 4X4s, and technological advances that have made the most inhospitable places a breeze to access. You will find that there is literally nowhere on Earth that humans cannot and do not go nowadays. What happens to the predators in these areas, they get pushed out unfortunately.
Why do you feed them daily when in the wild they don’t eat every day?
In the wild they can hunt when they are hungry (most species are only about 30% to 40% successful when hunting). They consume huge amounts of food during a feeding because they don’t know where or when the next meal will be coming from. They gorge on a kill to make sure they eat their fill before threats such as clan of hyenas chase them off their prey. Obviously, they cannot hunt when they are in an enclosure and they don’t know how to hunt. Each animal is fed approximately 7% of its body weight per week. This is divided into 7 days with small, medium and large feedings. They are also fed various kinds of meat to which are added nutrients and supplements to ensure healthy and content cats.
Why are some of the lionesses so fat?
The female lions are on contraceptives to prevent breeding. The contraceptives have the same effect on the females as they would on your domestic dog or cat once it has been neutered or spayed.
Do you breed with them?
We don’t breed with any of the animals at Jukani. Most facilities that breed do so to sell the cubs or use them for animal touching / interaction with guests. Please follow the #HandsOffOurWildlife campaign and watch the documentary Bloodlions. We simply provide a forever home.
How old do the animals get?
In captivity, they live a lot longer than in nature where they are in a constant battle for survival. A male lion seldom gets older than eight to nine years in nature whilst in captivity they can live up to twenty years of age. The same goes for tigers, leopards, jaguars etc.
What happens to animals when they get too old?
Jukani is a sanctuary for all the animals in its care and they will receive life time care and treatment here. With this commitment also comes the huge responsibility of proper animal keeping and planning for the future of each animal at Jukani. Also, a sustainable business has been put in place to ensure that these animals will be taken care of for the rest of their natural lives.
What does the word/name Jukani mean?
The word Jukani has no meaning and is a portmanteau of Juka and Shanti. Juka and Shanti are the names we use to refer to the 2 Bengal Tigers who occupy the largest enclosure at Jukani. It is also the central most enclosure located in the heart of the Sanctuary. The name has a lovely African ring to it.
Do the animals have names?
We do not believe that they are pets, but it makes it easier to give them names so we have camp names for administration purposes and logistics in this case it makes it easier to refer to them by a name. We have enough respect for them to appreciate the fact that they may like to call themselves whatever they feel like and we have considered the fact that they might not even have names. We are very mindful of not projecting human emotion or rules onto the animals. After all, a Hyena laughing is no joke and a cat smiling is not always a sign of friendliness.
Do you buy animals and will you get more?
We do not buy any animals at Jukani. All the animals at Jukani are rescues. Our animals have come from persons or the authorities such as Cape Nature rescuing them and if there has been space at Jukani they were placed here. Space only opens if an animal has passed away.
What do you consider as ethical animal attractions and what would an unethical animal attraction be?
Firstly, look at the animals’ quality of life. It is as easy as that. Look at a facility carefully and see how the animals are treated. Now think about animal well-being for a moment. Does it need interaction with humans every day of its life? The answer is absolutely NOT. Wild animals, unlike domestic animals do not need nor crave human interaction, for the most part they shy away from humans and that is an instinct that should be preserved not only in the animal, but also in humans. If the animals are walked, touched, ridden on, played with or subjected to any human interaction with the public, then we regard such a facility as unethical. No facility involved in conservation can justify sacrificing any animal’s well-being to earn funds to conserve it. It does not make sense. It is not conservation – it is exploitation!