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This Lion Sanctuary in South Africa Allows Visitors to Get Up Close With Lions by Locking Them in a Cage

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A lion sanctuary near Harrismith in the eastern Free State in South Africa allows people to get up close and personal with its pride of apex predators, by locking visitors in a plexiglass cage for up to 45 minutes at a time.

Lions in South Africa
Image: GG Conservation

Glen Garriff (GG) Conservation is a 1,000-hectare lion sanctuary located roughly 6 kilometres outside the Free State town of Harrismith. Founded in 2002, the sanctuary’s pride has grown to include more than 70 lions and has proven to be especially popular with international tourists.

GG Conservation’s fame is attributed to its unique “human cage experience” which reverses the traditional zoo dynamic of visitors watching captive animals. At this sanctuary, the lions roam free and visitors can choose to be caged in a structure made of plexiglass and tightly packed steel bars. It’s the land equivalent of shark cage diving.

This Lion Sanctuary in South Africa Locks Visitors in a Cage
Image: GG Conservation

The cage is a favourite among wildlife photographers, who can focus their long lenses through the gated windows for long range shots of Africa’s most well-known carnivores.

The concept was pitched by German wildlife photographer Lars Beusker during his visit to the sanctuary in 2018.

“Lars suggested a photography cage and that’s how the concept started. He gave us his design ideas from a pro photographer point of view and also the initial donation to get it made which we did. This was the initial cage and it was all metal,” Suzanne Scott of GG Conservation told Business Insider South Africa, adding that the cage’s current form – with plexiglass – was finalised in 2019.

This Lion Sanctuary in South Africa Locks Visitors in a Cage
Image: GG Conservation

For visitors looking to experience being within pawing distance of a pride of lions – and living to tell the tale with photos as proof – a series of ‘breathing holes’ in the plexiglass are suitable for phone cameras.

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The concept was pitched by German wildlife photographer Lars Beusker during his visit to the sanctuary in 2018.

This Lion Sanctuary in South Africa Locks Visitors in a Cage
Image: GG Conservation

“Lars suggested a photography cage and that’s how the concept started. He gave us his design ideas from a pro photographer point of view and also the initial donation to get it made which we did. This was the initial cage and it was all metal,” Suzanne Scott of GG Conservation told Business Insider South Africa, adding that the cage’s current form – with plexiglass – was finalised in 2019.

For visitors looking to experience being within pawing distance of a pride of lions – and living to tell the tale with photos as proof – a series of ‘breathing holes’ in the plexiglass are suitable for phone cameras.

Reposted from Business Insider.

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