Walter Slippers made the news in July when photographs were published showing the neglected state of the lions he breeds on his farm. He runs four businesses on his farm near Allays, in the Limpopo province of South Africa, a breeding farm, a hunting farm, a taxidermy studio and a coffee shop, called “Toeka Plaas Kombuis”. Baby lions are brought each day from the farm to the restaurant so that tourists can pet them and take photos of the experience. The breeding and hunting side of his business falls under Ingogo Safaris - www.ingogosafaris.com,
An inspector from the NSPCA wildlife division, Isabel Wentzel, went to check on the condition of the lions on the farm. There were apparently 250 lions on the properties owned by Slippers, a vet has been ordered to go through to these properties and assess the health of the lions.
When asked about the condition of the lions on his property Walter Slippers said he had recently suffered from a heart attack and could therefore not feed the lions.
Dr Andrew Venter, CEO of Wildlands, said in an article published in www.africageographic.com that: “It is tragic to see lion breeders who have exploited lions for many years, simply abandoning their animals because they are no longer valuable. It clearly demonstrates that these breeders have no ethical conservation intent.”
The news website, Traveller24, also contacted Walter Slippers about the state of the lions and he said the photos were old and must have been taken in March when he was still in rehab after a heart attack, but the inspection done by the NSPCA on the 4th of July confirmed the ill health of the lions.
Dawie and his co-accused were arrested on 10 September 2010. In the indictment documentation for the Groenewald trial, it is mentioned that Walter Slippers, the owner of the farm Ingogo near Alldays, contacted Dawie Groenewald and asked him if he had a rhino bull available. Dawie Groenewald at the time was in the USA, so he dealt with Johannes Gysbert Du Preez (Gys). Gys told Slippers that there was a dehorned rhino bull available for R200,000.
On the 12th of April 2010 Mariza Toet applied for a permit to transport two white rhino bulls from the farm Prachtig (Dawie Groenewald’s farm) to the farm Ingogo. On the 29th April 2010, a permit was issued for the transportation of two white rhino bulls to Ingogo. The permit was issued to Karel Toet, Mariza Toet’s husband.
It was then also stated that Dawie Groenewald personally delivered the dehorned rhino bull to Ingogo. So we have three white rhinos being sold by Dawie Groenewald to Walter Slippers in 2010.
In a testimonial about Ingogo Safaris, written by David and Anthony Florance, they spoke of two trips in 2011. They both claimed to have “taken” a rhino. Were these the two rhino purchased from Groenewald the previous year? David also “harvested” an elephant, a buffalo, a large male lion and a hippo. His son “took” a croc, a buffalo and a lion.
In 2012 Walter Slippers challenged the Department of Environment and Tourism over a decision of theirs to not issue white rhino hunting permits to five Vietnamese “trophy hunters”. The permits were initially authorised, but when the permits application was seen by the national Department of Environmental Affairs they decided to change their decision because of the abuse by Vietnamese citizens of the white rhino hunting permits to do “pseudo-hunts”.
The court in response to the application by Walter Slippers, ordered that the five Vietnamese applicants would need to attend interviews that were to be conducted by the conservation authorities of the area, this was to determine if the Vietnamese hunters were legitimate hunters. Slippers told the court that the hunters were not yet in the country, and so could therefore not be available for interviews.
The court eventually turned down Slippers application, and he was ordered to pay the costs.
Walter Slipper is a man that sees animals as simply a way to make money. He breeds lions on his farm, makes money from tourists who pay to play with the baby lions at his farm restaurant, then once they are old enough he sells these lions to trophy hunters who shoot the lions so they can take home a dead lion. Walter also runs a taxidermy service for his hunting clients, so he is selling his animals to be shot, and then after this he is making money from the taxidermy work of the dead animal.
He has also shown he has been willing to sell rhino hunts to Vietnamese “pseudo-hunters”, abusing the rhino trophy hunting permit system as a legal way to harvest rhino horns. The fact the he was mentioned in the Groenewald indictment also shows he has associated with the non ethical side of the rhino hunting community.
Walter Slippers has proven he has very little respect for the animals under his care, lets hope that this latest incident of lion neglect will finally close down his businesses, none of them offer any conservation benefit, they are simply ways to profit from the animals, and in many cases this resulting in the death of the animal.