A caring foster-father to his ‘kids’

Nazeer Ahmed Cajee, the only non-white predator breeder in South Africa, ensures that tiger and lion cubs born at his farm are given the best care.
“They are like my children. The newborns spend two or three months at my home in Rustenburg. They sleep on my bed. I bottle feed them until they start drinking and e

ating on their own,” he says. Nazeer and his animals enjoy a special chemistry. “It is understandable. I’m always around for them from the time they come into this world. My animals understand my commands easily.
“You should see the way Raja, the three-month old white tiger cub at my park, plays with me. He is mischievous. Raja never allows me to play with lion cubs. He needs my undivided attention all the time,” he adds. According to Nazeer, man has a lot to learn from tigers and lions. “They don’t eat unless they are hungry and don’t drink unless they are thirsty. In the animal kingdom, sex is always consensual. I believe animals are more prudent,” the hunting outfitter of Indian origin explains.
Nazeer hastens to add in a lighter vein that it’s not advisable to follow one particular aspect of lion’s sexual life. “It is the frequency. Lions mate as many as 52 times a day. The number is established after thorough research. No wonder the lion is called the king of the jungle,” he laughs.
Hunting is legal in South Africa. Nazeer is one of the sought-after hunting experts. “I did a course in hunting. The syllabus was exhaustive with lessons in animal psychology, geography, skinning, reading of the pugmark, zoology, botany, shooting and ballistics, besides other subjects. I also learned many critical lessons through experience.”
Isn’t there a clash of interests — his penchant for hunting and his love for animals? “Many people think so without going to the root of the issue. There is a difference between hunting and poaching. Hunting is conservation through utilisation.
“If I don’t allow hunters in my park, the number of animals will reach unmanageable levels. For instance, the area of my park will remain the same after 15 years but the animals would have multiplied exponentially. How will I be able to take care of them without any revenue? And, why would anyone bother to rear an animal if it doesn’t have any value?
“Kenya banned hunting many years ago and wildlife there is on the brink of a disaster now.”

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