Annel Snyman, a 31-year-old, from the Waterberg region of South Africa, has adopted a tiny cob of a white lion last spring. Now the lion, called Tima, is a year and six months old, weighs 120 kg and eats not less than 4 kg of fresh meat per day.
As a cub Timba could often be found snoozing in Annel’s bed but having outgrown the bedroom the friendly feline still tries to cuddle up with Annel on the sofa.
Annel’s love for animals started six years ago when, with help from her mother and father, she opened a guest house – called Loebies Guestfarm – on the land where she lives.
In a bid to make the resort more appealing she decided to adopt various farm animals and this eventually turned into hand-rearing African cats and other wild animals after being approached by someone in the game industry in 2009.
Since then Annel has hand-reared dozens of animals including six serval kittens, a cheetah cub, five lions, a white lion and a leopard.
Annel admits she spoilt the first lions she cared for even more than Timba and would regularly go swimming with them.
She said: ‘Being the first lions reared on the farm, they ruled the house, the bed and the couches and would regularly join me for swims in the farm dam up until they were rather large.
‘While most people are amazed, this has become my life and part of who I am.
‘There are times when it is difficult to do day-to-day things but I do manage to live a normal life – well normal for me anyway,’ the owner of an unconventional pet stated.
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