Inverdoorn Game Reserve is staffed by some of the most dedicated professionals in the industry. Their passion for wildlife conservation and Inverdoorn is evident in the personalised service and attention you are guaranteed to experience on your stay with us.
Wilna paxton - general manager
Q. How long have you been working for Inverdoorn?
I started working at Inverdoorn Game Reserve in 2005. I was 22 years old and came here as a junior ranger. Shortly thereafter I was promoted to Senior Ranger and then to Head Ranger. In 2008, after two cheetah cubs were born at the reserve, Damian and I hand-raised them and I became the WCCC Supervisor. Today I am the General Manager of Inverdoorn. For me, the beauty of Inverdoorn is that it gives you the opportunity to grow; and it is wonderful working for owners that share the same passion as me for nature – we feel like we work for a cause and not just for money.
Q. What does your average day entail, when working at Inverdoorn?
My job entails several different fields and different hours. I can do anything: feeding, walking and taking care of the cheetahs; releasing a rhino early in the morning and even doing safaris or having to "make" food for all the big cats. Then, of course, there is the not-so-glamorous side of things that have to be done such as office work – which is not my favorite thing in the world.
Q. What is your favourite animal?
The most obvious answer is definitely the cheetahs. Before Banzi came into my life, a cheetah was just a regular animal to me. But I promise you when you look into those big, beautiful eyes for the first time you cannot help but fall in love. They crawl into your heart and that is where they will stay for the rest of my existence on this planet. I love that big boy. He is like a child to me.
Q. Any advice for people applying to be a volunteer at Inverdoorn?
The most important thing about being a volunteer at Inverdoorn, is that you have to have passion. All the other things we can teach, but if you do not have passion for these animals and wildlife, you have nothing. Then afterwards, is patience and dedication. There is a lot of glamour to being a volunteer, like walking, brushing and just spending time with the cheetahs; but, unfortunately, there are also things which aren't as nice. For example, cheetahs are predators, meaning that they eat meat and unfortunately we have to make it. And of course, what goes in, must come out, so the cleaning of the camps is also required, but it is all part of the job.
LEAH BROUSSE - MAIN PREDATOR HANDLER
Q. How long have you been working at Inverdoorn?
A. I've been working at Inverdoorn since January, so it's been five months now.
Q. What has been your best experience at Inverdoorn so far?
There have been so many and there are still so many to come so it's really hard to say, but I think the best experience is to realise that a wild animal like a cheetah trusted you with every decision you made. To earn their trust is the best experience. And I think the cheetah release, to see these beautiful animals where they belong, will also definitely be one of the best experiences.
Q. What is the most challenging part of your job?
There are two very challenging parts of my job. At the moment Iziba is really challenging me. She is at a very important and difficult stage in her life where she is still a teenager but is starting to grow up, so her training is very important. To find the right training for a cheetah is not always very easy. On the other hand, it is challenging to keep the hope up that one day humans will realise how important nature is and hopefully here at Inverdoorn we can make them understand that.
Q. What do you love most about cheetahs?
Everything! But I think the thing that I love the most is how wild and tender they are at the same time. How they pick up your emotions and react to them in a very loving way.
THE ANIMAL HANDLERS
THE CAPE TOWN TEAM
PO BOX 304 SEA POINT 8060
CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA