A South African family are living in an isolated trailer – so they can provide their numerous lions, tigers, jaguars and caracals a place to live.
The Fernandes family once owned the luxurious Jugomaro Predator Park, which was home to their pets for seven years.
The beautiful enclosures and fields the size of football pitches meant their beloved big cats had a five-star complex and were even allowed to go inside the family house.
A tiger bathes in Krugersdorp, South Africa. Its owners once ran the luxurious Jugomaro Predator Park, which was home for their pet tigers and lions for seven years
Justin feeds one of his lions by passing a raw piece to its mouth from his. The beasts cost the family the equivalent of about $800 or £600 per week in food expenses. He said: ‘I see the cats as a big part of my family. These animals mean so much to me that I put my life on the line for them’
Justin gives a white tiger a bottle milk. The big cat lover said: ‘I’d rather be killed by one of my cats than being in town and getting murdered for 50 rand and my cell phone’
After taking care of the animals for nine years, Justin’s level of interaction with the lions and tigers is very intimate. The pets now live in smaller enclosures just 50 metres away from their trailer home
Two potentially man eating tigers play ball in their spacious cage while their owners and carers live in a trailer and use bushes as a toilet
Maxine, who is Justin’s brother, talks with her tigers. The sibling’s mother owned a specialized big cat sanctuary that was acquired by liquidators after the family ran into financial trouble
Now the trio live in a caravan, with a tent as an extension, surrendering a potentially better quality of life in order to keep their the animals, fed watered and sheltered
But in November 2015 the luxurious retreat was demolished when owner Rosa and her children, Justin and Maxine, ran into financial difficulties and the liquidators gained control of their home and dumped their possessions in a waste pile – leaving their six lions, 10 tigers, three caracals and one jaguar homeless.
This detrimental change of circumstance forced the distraught family to flee to a section of land in Krugersdorp, South Africa, where they are currently living in a trailer and have to wash and go to the toilet in the nearest bushes.
But despite all of their loss, the trio put everything they have into their beloved pets that now live in smaller enclosures just 50 metres away from their trailer home.
Justin, 31, said: ‘I see the cats as a big part of my family.
‘These animals mean so much to me that I put my life on the line for them.
‘I’d rather be killed by one of my cats than being in town and getting murdered for 50 rand and my cell phone.’
The family now live in a cramped trailer. Rosa said: ‘We are currently living in a caravan and it is a little bit difficult as it is like all open in the bush. We have got an outdoor shower, which we have to boil our water for – it takes about three hours’
Justin shows off a tattoo depicting the paws of a beloved tiger. Despite being clawed by some of the animals his passion for them remains unwavering
‘We have been living like this for more than a year now – it would have been easy for us to sell the cats and get back on our feet again but unfortunately for our family that wasn’t an option,’ said Rosa
Justin plays football with the cats, brushes their fur, massages their ears and can even provide mouth-to-mouth feeding with raw meat
‘The daily routine we have with the animals consists of waking up early in the morning, going around and checking if they are all okay,’ said Justin
Rosa said the family’s passion for big cats came about by chance. The 53-year-old said: ‘We went to visit a farm one day and we came across a tiger – the mother was trying to get rid of it because he looked different to the other siblings. We felt so sorry for this little tiger and so we asked the owner if he would give us this cat. With a lot of love and dedication, we nursed him back to full health and his name was Panjo’
Justin said: ‘The daily routine we have with the animals consists of waking up early in the morning, going around and checking if they are all okay’
‘Because I keep contact with the cats every single day, I get to hand-feed them and this is why they are so different towards me. I can do a lot more things with these big cats than what most people can do with their dog,’ Justin added
The ultimate battle. A lion and a tiger claw at each other in a play fight. The Fernandes family are now looking for their own piece of land to rebuild a better park for the animals again