• SGN Press release


    East Kent depot volunteers help endangered big cats at animal sanctuary


    12 July 2018 


    Our volunteers pose for a group photo on one of the newly built platforms in the puma enclosure


    Tigers and pumas at The Big Cat Sanctuary in Smarden can relax peacefully in their newly transformed enclosures thanks to volunteers from our East Kent depot.

    The team of 18 colleagues visited the sanctuary offering their support as part of our Community Action Programme (CAP) in which every employee is given one day a year on company time to offer help in their community.

    Recently featured in the BBC documentary ‘Big Cats About The House’, The Big Cat Sanctuary provides peace and tranquillity for endangered cats both large and small. The sanctuary focusses on conserving endangered species, breeding and, if possible, the eventual return of the cats to the wild.  

    The 18-strong group ventured into three enclosures – two housing a pair of pumas while the other was home to a tigress – to cut the tall grass and weed the paths. They also built platforms for our feline friends to play on. Emergency Team Manager Stuart Lavender, who organised the event, said: “The tigress was moved into the enclosure adjoining ours to get a good view of us renovating her new home. After a few apprehensive looks to make sure she was safely locked away, we began to tackle what can only be described as a jungle. We also built two new platforms for the pumas to play on and erected a tree trunk to hang meat on for the tiger.”

    Engineer Danny Ellis added: “The sanctuary employees need help to maintain these homes, so it was nice to be able to relieve their stress and to see the animals enjoying going back into their tidy enclosures.”

    Engineer Tim Beames saw the sanctuary on the television only weeks before. “It was brilliant to be able to see rare black Jaguar Maya in real life! The sanctuary is generally closed to the public so I felt lucky to experience part of what it’s like to work there. They rescue the cats from cruel fates like poaching or circus life, so it’s a really great cause,” said Tim.

    Big cat expert Giles Clark, who featured in the BBC documentary, said: “Our pumas, Viktoria and Valentina, have certainly been making the most of the new installations during this warm weather lately. We’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to the SGN team for helping to enrich the lives of our resident cats.”