To mark World Lion Day (10 August 2020), South African skincare brand, Environ, has partnered with Love Lions Alive Sanctuary to support the annual cost of vitamin A supplementation for its lions.
Lions kept in a sanctuary require daily vitamin A supplements, or they risk developing a potentially deadly vitamin A deficiency, called Hypovitaminosis A, which can lead to blindness, convulsion, limb paresis and eventually death. The deficiency also leads to weakened immune systems.
Annually, an estimated 40% of lions held in captivity die of a condition caused by a lack of vitamin A supplements. This is why all lions at the Love Lions Alive Sanctuary are given daily vitamins and an annual booster, which will now be sponsored by Environ.
Says Environ’s chairman and CEO, Val Carstens: “Vitamin A is at the heart of our business, and because we understand the wellness benefits of this vitamin, we’ve decided to show our support for this iconic South African animal of the Love Lions Alive Sanctuary. We know these majestic animals have experienced untold cruelty, but we hope this act of kindness will go some way to giving them a happy and healthy life at their new home. We look forward to building a lasting relationship with this sanctuary.”
Love Lions Alive is a sanctuary in Swinburne, Free State, that gives lifelong care to lions who come to live out their lives in safety. The sanctuary, founded by Andi Rive, offers a place of safety, dignity and reprieve to all lions in need. Lions who were born into captivity are given the best chance at a quality life. The sanctuary is completely opposed to the breeding of lions in captivity and does not support the sale of lions, or human interaction with them.
The sanctuary is run by only two women who devote their lives to caring for the 25 big cats homed at Love Lions Alive. However, rescuing cats from circuses, zoos and hunting facilities is only one step in improving the quality of life of these big cats – they also require the correct feed and supplements, control of their bodies and superior habitats.
“That is the challenge we and our collaborators are rising to meet. We cannot do this alone. Ideally, we would like to get the whole of South Africa on board with animal welfare issues,” says Rive.
Love Lions Alive Sanctuary approached Environ due to their expert knowledge in vitamin A for use in skincare, gathered over the past 29 years.
Carstens continues: “We know of the importance of vitamin A to our clients. Vitamin A helps to speed up healing, prevent breakouts, support the skin's immune system and it promotes natural moisturising – which means it helps to hydrate the skin effectively, giving it a radiant glow. It assists in promoting and maintaining a healthy dermis and epidermis. We understand the effects of neglecting this supplement as humans, and therefore decided, as a company, to pledge to help these majestic animals who cannot help themselves.”
While Hypovitaminosis A is a well-researched and documented condition in lions, it’s not known exactly why lions in captivity commonly develop it. Even on a robust diet, if the supplement is not included, lions are susceptible to developing the condition, explains Rive. This is why all lions at the sanctuary are given daily vitamins and annual boosters.