Sylvia Mantella’s Instagram shots of herself with animals are amazing and terrifying

Sylvia Mantella’s Instagram shots of herself with animals are amazing and terrifying

Sylvia Mantella, wife of the real estate developer Robert Mantella, is a Toronto philanthropist and socialite. In the realm of high-society fashion, she’s side by side with Suzanne Rogers—but on Instagram, she has no rivals. In the past few weeks alone, she’s posted images of herself giving a hyena a belly rub, pressing her cheek into the fur of an endangered Amur leopard and cradling an African serval in her arms while she feeds it with a baby bottle. Your head says, “Nooooo, Sylvia, that can’t be safe.” But your heart is like, “Aww… kitties.”

Mantella is able to enjoy such unfettered access to wildlife because she and her husband have an entire sprawling estate in Jupiter, Florida that they’ve converted into a private animal sanctuary. Their home, purchased through a shell company in 2010, sits on a 20-acre lot with an assortment of fenced-in animal enclosures. The same shell company bought an adjacent 20-acre lot in 2012, doubling the size of the Mantellas’ spread. In an interview published on his own website, Robert Mantella says his menagerie has non-profit status and a staff of animal keepers. “Our main goal is to give these animals respectful, safe, fulfilling lives,” he’s quoted as saying.

There has been at least one minor biting incident, but that apparently doesn’t preclude a little hands-on time. Here are some of Sylvia’s most spine-tingling contributions to cute-animal Instagram:

With a hyena:

With her face on a Bengal tiger’s face:

The Amur leopard seems pretty okay with this:

But it seems ambivalent about kisses:

So does this owl:

Here’s a kangaroo eating bread from Sylvia’s mouth:

A sloth:

A timber wolf pup:

No clue:

A faceful of gibbon:

Do blondes have more fun? Well Today we did!! ?? #gibbons #rescue #love #grateful … photocredit @sarahmantella ?

A photo posted by Sylvia Mantella (@sylviamantella) on

The grizzly bear is like, “Ma’am, I hardly know you.”