Big Cats Are ‘Beast Buddies’ Of This Petite Woman
This tiny animal lover does not let her size stop her from interacting with deadly lions that weigh more than 480lbs. In the heart of the Limpopo Province, South Africa, 35-year-old Annel Snyman spends her days cuddling and hand-feeding the most dangerous of predators, by forming a close bond with lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas. Annel is the owner of Loebies Guesthouse and Predator Park, which houses 35 animals, 17 of which are wild predators and scavengers that Annel has hand-raised.
Annel Snyman established the park in 2009, and says that it requires a lot of hard work, but thanks to the dedicated staff she employed, things run smoothly. There are many people and school groups who visit the park and they try to educate people about the wild cats. Many guests would ask her if she trusts her lions to which she replies that she is not scared but only cautious.
Neil Van Deventer is her main park assistant. They always work in pairs of two for just in case, because every animal can bite and attack, as they cannot be completely trusted. She says that all animals have a different way of talking to her and have different personalities.
Her house is in the middle of the park, which they call the zoo house, and there are several animals living with her. They sit on the sofa, they get into her clothes. She has a few scars and stories to tell.
Some animals might think you are part of the pride and never show aggression but only want to play. They give you cuddles, they jump on you, which is their own way of showering you with affection. She says she does it for the love she receives, they are simply “beast buddies”.
Videographer / director: Paul Hugo, Jannes De Villiers
Producer: Danny Baggott, James Thorne
Editor: James Thorne