A love of animals has united NRL and Origin rivals Luke Lewis and Billy Slater to support the Zambi Wildlife Retreat which will be the game-day Charity Partner for tomorrow night’s Sharks home game against the Broncos.
Based in western Sydney, Zambi Wildlife Retreat is a not-for-profit animal welfare establishment that is a retreat for exotic animals retired from the zoo, circus and entertainment industries. It also operates as a rescue and rehabilitation facility for all species in need, including domestic, farm and native animals.
Luke and wife Sonia became Ambassadors for Zambi after their first visit, while Melbourne-based Storm star Billy and wife Nicole have also been actively involved with Nicole shooting a 2015 calendar of the animals at the retreat, with 100% profits going to Zambi.
The calendars will be on sale at the Sharks game on Friday night along with bucket collections at the gates and a raffle with the chance to win a private tour for two of Zambi with Luke Lewis and another Sharks player.
The Retreat is currently NOT open to the public, with the focus being on the training and educational aspect of animal welfare.
“Once you go out there and see all the animals you will jump at the chance to help them,” said Luke.
While Luke will miss tomorrow’s game due to injury, Sonia will be on the field at Remondis Stadium in her role as a game-day MC.
“Luke and I love animals and we are against any form of cruelty to animals,” Sonia said. “Since our first visit there a couple of years ago we were so taken in by the organisation – they get no government funding, they struggle for funds and the staff have no income.
“They do such an amazing job and the animals don’t go without anything. We just want to do whatever we can to help them raise awareness and funds.
“The Slaters got involved because they have a passion for animals like Luke and I,” Sonia added. “Zambi wanted to do a professional photo shoot of the animals and when I mentioned it to Nicole, she jumped at the chance and flew to Sydney soon after and took the shots for the calendar.”
For more information on Zambi Wildlife Retreat go to http://www.zambiwildliferetreat.com.au.