Roberta Writes: Thursday Doors – Ukutula Conservation Centre #Ukutula #babyleopards #babycheetahs #lionmelody #poetry

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time). You can join in here:

Last weekend, my family took a short mini-break to Ukutula Conservation Centre in Brits, North West Province. At this centre they do research relating mainly lions and cheetahs in order to ensure the preservation of these wonderful animals going forward. The centre is doing artificial insemination of lionesses using sperm from African lions all over the world. This is to ensure a diversified gene pool and prevent genetic physical defects resulting from inbreeding. There is also a facility at the centre to store eggs and sperm from lions and other wild cats.

There are only 20,000 lions left in the wild in Africa and 50,000 is considered to be the minimum number to ensure the survival of a species. To add to the threats posed to lions in the wild from loss of habitat and poaching, the lion population in South Africa’s Kruger National Park is being further impacted by rising cases of tuberculosis. There is currently no cure and no preventative vaccination and Ukutula is one of the research centres working hard to change this position and protect our lion populations. You can read more about tuberculosis among lions here:

Here are a few pictures of some of the doors at the lodge.

Sunset in the bush

It looks peaceful, but it isn’t.

You can hear the sounds of the bush here – Lion melody

As I mentioned, the centre is mainly for lions and cheetahs, but it also has a lot of rescue animals. These tigers are an example of rescues. Unfortunately, the tigers have limited space, but they are not natural to Africa and they are very unpredictable and aggressive. I wrote a poem about the tigers in my favourite 99-syllable form. It was one of 7 I wrote over the weekend.

Confessions of a tiger

Africa’s not my home

I don’t belong here

I was entertainment for a wealthy man

With no common sense

Who tired of me


I cannot be tamed

Or made to do tricks

I’m unreliable even when trained

If my instincts kick in

I will turn on you


At least he realised

I would never fit

He asked the sanctuary to collect me

It sees to all my needs

And I have a mate

By Robbie Cheadle


I also got to walk with the baby cheetahs.

I petted one for about 3 seconds

You can see the cheetahs walking here:

We saw three rescue baby leopards. This pictures is also through the links.

I filmed a baby leopard’s first encounter with a spider, so cute:

50 thoughts on “Roberta Writes: Thursday Doors – Ukutula Conservation Centre #Ukutula #babyleopards #babycheetahs #lionmelody #poetry

  1. Thanks for sharing the wonderful doors and photos, Robbie. I was sad to read about tuberculosis among lions. I had never considered something like that, as if they aren’t threatened enough.

    Your poem is lovely. I think you captured his thoughts well.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. HI Dan, I am glad you enjoyed this post. I have some doors from the lion camps for next week. I was horrified to learn about the TB among the lions. I had no idea about it. Progress is being made with a vaccination, I just hope it’s in time to save the ones in the Kruger. I’m delighted you enjoyed the poem. This one just came to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s frightening how many animals–and plants–are on the verge of extinction. It’s hard to undo all the damage we’ve done, but I’m glad some are trying. Thanks for sharing all of this, and You really entered the tiger’s mind with your words. (K)

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I was hoping you’d say in your poem something like ……..’I ate my dumb owner and now am free’!
    I’d have trouble sleeping with those Lions bellowing!
    I bet you’d like a Cheetah as a house pet If It could stay small.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. HI Wayne, sadly, if the tiger ate the owner (which would probably be quite reasonable in my opinion) they would put it down. This is my version of the true story. Nothing bothers my sleep, but I did rush up to video the sound because I enjoyed it very much. They are very communicative and sociable animals. The baby cheetahs, lions (I’ll share next week), and leopards are adorable. I’m glad you enjoyed this post, Wayne. I often think of you when I do on African adventures. I think how lucky you are to be living your dream all the time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s so sad to me that the populations of these big cats are in jeopardy. The work of these sanctuaries is critical. Thanks for sharing your experience, what you learned, and some great photos. I enjoyed your poem too – happy that the tiger has a mate. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Diana, it makes me sad too. I like to support these places as much as possible and, of course, it is also amazing to see the animals. I’m glad you enjoyed the poem, I really feel for tigers, there are less than 4,000 left in the wild.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Love the poetry, it touched my heart for I can well imagine the confusion within the Tiger. ((( tiger ))). How wonderful that you were able to spend time with so many beautiful beings. I am so grateful that you take the time to share. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Annette, I am glad my readers enjoy these posts. I like to share about nature and conservation. I always feel bad when I learn about animals that owners don’t want anymore. They literally tell the sanctuaries that if they don’t take them, they will be shot.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Liz, I didn’t know lions got TB. The guide told us and I looked it up at home. Animals in the wild struggle for survival (national parks are considered to be wild) as they are impacted by fires, floods, and drought. Animals are dying of starvation in drought stricken areas in Zimbabwe.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I enjoyed all of the animals you photographed on Facebook. The leopard encounter with the spider was great. It’s interesting to watch animals figuring new experiences out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s heartbreaking to see those numbers decline, Robbie. But this is a wonderful post bringing awareness. Your photos are beautiful and your poem is very profound. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. A very true poem, Robbie. I’m sure if the tiger could write, it would tell us the same. Sad state of affairs, but at least he’s happy now. And thanks for sharing the videos and the pics. What a fantastic place!

    Liked by 2 people

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