Provide food and care for our leopard for one year

Feb 12, 2014

Cleaning Shiloweni's Camp!

Shiloweni hiding in his tree
Shiloweni hiding in his tree

Hello to all you Leopard lovers!

Shiloweni is doing really well lately, it's Summer here in South Africa and although the weather is unbearably hot for us, Shilo is loving the long grass that has erupted in his enclosure! He is not the most sociable cat and we only really get to see the odd flick of his tail these days as he stays happily hidden amongst the foliage.

It's obvious that we love him more than he loves us! But, that also makes us very happy because in his head he is still very much a wild Leopard - and always will be.

In December, as a pre-Christmas treat we decided to give Shiloweni's camp a spring clean. This doesn't happen too often as we don't like to disturb him and leave our human scent around but it is quite a big task when it does! We secured him safely on the far side of his enclosure and got to work.

A team of 10 volunteers, kitted with gloves and buckets, combed the 2,500 square metre area and scooped up an aray of discarded bones in all shapes and sizes! Enough to almost fill the back of our pick up truck...we also found the remains of a Leopard Tortoise shell, sadly the two species are obviously not companions despite sharing the same name.

We always need more funding to ensure Shiloweni's health and happiness and our safety, if you could mention our project to your friends and family or perhaps share the link below on your facebook or twitter page that would really help us to spread the word!

Here is the link you need:

Thank you so much for your continued support of DAKTARI, our animals and particularly Shiloweni, we could not give him the happy life he deserves without you and we are forever grateful.

I hope you have enjoyed my little update and the pictures below,

All the best to you,

Amy Hulme - Marketing Manager

Email me:

Two of the volunteers combing the camp!
Two of the volunteers combing the camp!
Bucket of bones! Yum!
Bucket of bones! Yum!
Poor left overs of a Leopard Tortoise
Poor left overs of a Leopard Tortoise
Our pick up truck filling up nicely!
Our pick up truck filling up nicely!


Nov 25, 2013

Shiloweni's Annual Check-Up

Michele and the children meet Shiloweni
Michele and the children meet Shiloweni

Thank you so much for your continued support of our leopard, Shiloweni! We are so grateful for your interest and for all of your donations toward his care.

One of our biggest expenses that you so kindly contribute towards is Shiloweni’s annual check-up with the vet. This costs DAKTARI a total of R5194.50 (just over $500). Although expensive, the check-up is absolutely necessary to monitor Shiloweni’s overall health, especially his teeth, as this was the reason he was not coping well in the wild.

This year, the check-up took place at the end of September and it was an especially exciting time at DAKTARI as we had a French film crew visiting us to capture the whole affair. It was also a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for the children to get up close and personal with a leopard.

Before the check-up could begin, wildlife vet, Peter Rogers, took great care to dart Shiloweni with a tranquilizer. Once the leopard was fully under the anaesthetic, the children, volunteers and staff were able to come close to watch Peter and his team at work. Of course, we had assistants on hand in case Shiloweni unexpectedly came round from the anaesthetic.

To our delight, Peter found Shiloweni to be in superb condition, much better than he had anticipated. His teeth look excellent and his blood tests showed his organ function to be healthy. Shiloweni also received a flea/tick treatment to keep any nasty parasites at bay.

During the treatment, Peter covered the leopard’s face with a damp towel to prevent his eyes from drying out and to minimize any distress. After the check-up was complete, everyone had an opportunity to come close to Shiloweni and to stroke his fur. For the children particularly, this was a very special experience and one that they were all keen to tell their friends about. 

Although Shiloweni was unable to survive in the wild, the outcome of his check-up gives us encouragement that DAKTARI was right to give him a second chance. Every child who visits us here is fascinated to be able to see a leopard so close and, in this way, Shiloweni really does a lot to alter the attitudes of local people towards these amazing animals.

Since my last report in September, we have had 5 more donations taking us a further $175 towards our goal. Not only will these funds go towards Shiloweni's vet fees, they allow us to provide him with a rich, meaty diet and also help us to maintain the electric fences around his camp, keeping him (and us!) safe. Although we are still a long way off of $6000, you guys are doing a fantastic job and I am confident that we can reach our target if we keep spreading the word!

As Christmas is fast approaching, don’t forget that you can make a donation towards Shiloweni’s care on behalf of someone else as a gift using this link. We also have 2 other fantastic gift options on GlobalGiving - to sponsor a child to visit DAKTARI or to make a special Christmas donation for one of our animals.

Supporters in France can look out for the upcoming documentary on DAKTARI, which will be aired on TF1. We have still not been given a date, so please keep an eye out for more information on our Facebook page.

Our next report will be due early in 2014. Until then, from all of us here at DAKTARI, we wish you a very happy holiday season and all the best for the New Year!

Wildlife vet, Peter, checks Shiloweni
Wildlife vet, Peter, checks Shiloweni's teeth
Blood tests for organ function
Blood tests for organ function
Shiloweni's face is covered for comfort
Marketing volunteer, Amy, stroking the leopard
Marketing volunteer, Amy, stroking the leopard
Big paws!!
Big paws!!


Sep 3, 2013

An update on our majestic Shiloweni

Shiloweni sunbathing
Shiloweni sunbathing

Greeting from all of us here at Daktari!

Our magnificent leopard, Shiloweni, continues to be a source of fascination to both the volunteers and the children. In fact, many of the children say that he is their favourite animal at Daktari and it is easy to see why.

The best time to catch Shiloweni is on a cloudy day. Sometimes I like to sit quietly on the viewing platform and watch as he patrols the perimeters of his enclosure. When the sun is out, he always harder to spot, often hiding in the shade or in the long grass – all you can see is the occasional swish of his tail!

He never tires of his daily meals and is always ready and waiting for Jacob or Lucky to bring him his ‘catch of the day’ – usually chickens or impala. Click here to see Shiloweni in action at dinner time! 

Despite the length of time he has been with us and his obvious strength and power, Shiloweni continues to be wary of humans. He does not appreciate too much interaction with us.  We, in turn, have to retain a healthy respect for him as a wild animal and limit the number of visits to his enclosure. We must remember that Shiloweni was not raised by humans, but grew to adulthood as a wild leopard. Were it not for the loss of his canines, he would still be living happily in the bush.

Of course, Shiloweni still needs more support. Feeding a leopard and maintaining his fences does not come cheap! Don’t forget that you can encourage your friends and family to get involved – perhaps you can post the following link onto your social networks, such as Facebook or Twitter:

Daktari simply could not operate without the help of people like you and we certainly wouldn’t be able to provide a safe home for an animal such as Shiloweni without your help. So, from all of us here at Daktari, thank you for making a difference!


Jun 10, 2013

From our volunteer Mia Skjoldager


By Mia Skjoldager:

My name is Mia Maja Skjoldager, I am 24 years old and I come from Denmark. I’ve been at Daktari for 3 weeks now out of 3 months. While I have been here I’ve taught children about the environment, animals and how we should behave around people and animals.

The Leopard Shiloweni is doing fine. First time I met him he charged straight towards me, and did it a couple of times. I must say it did make me sweat a bit. Two weeks ago we found a dead baby zebra (probably died of natural causes), and the landowner gave us permission to feed it to the leopard. Another volunteer and I dragged it in to his enclosure. In the beginning he was just watching it from a distance, but when we drove of, he took it and dragged it into the bush :-).


We also would like to remind you that Bonus day is coming up, GlobalGiving offers YOU a 50% match on your donation on the 12th June.

Donate online the Wednesday 12th of June from 9 am to midnight Eastern Time or 3 pm to 6 am (13th of June) European Time to boost YOUR impact

Share your African Dream and encourage YOUR friends and family to support YOUR dream too.

This is the link to BOOST your donation by 50%:


Thank you very much for your support toward the care and food for our leopard Shiloweni.


Best regards,


Ian and Michele Merrifield



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Project Leader

Michele Merrifield

Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province South Africa

Where is this project located?

Map of Provide food and care for our leopard for one year