This month we welcomed 7 lion cubs that were part of a pride of 11 lions; 3 adults and 8 cubs ranging between 5 and 12 months old. Even if it was a brief stay it was full of excitement and adrenaline.
The adults of the pride went missing and we were called in to take the cubs!. We could only find seven of them, all very thin. We darted them and brought them back to the rehab where we fed them with meat until their tummies were gorged like a balloon.
On the way to the Rehab the cubs started waking up in the back of the pick-up they were sharing with the students, the top up for some hadn’t been enough!. When we were moving them to quarantine some of them were certainly awake and a couple of naughty ones decided to take off!. We caught the first one and the second one had to be held by the neck by our staff while the students held its legs, meanwhile another cubby didn’t feel like joining his brothers and sisters in the quarantine cages and decided to find rest in the highest spot he could find. It was quite the adventure!
After all the fun had passed a greater task laid ahead of us: to find them a home. The first step was to test them for bovine TB – an illness that is now amongst the wild lions of Kruger Park and is of our concern. They all proved to be negative!!.
With a bit of luck we were able to quickly find a farmer near the Botswana border willing to take them. Not certain if they would survive on their own in the wild - being so young, Brian stressed the farmer to take the snared lioness that was brought to us over a year ago. He decided to take her and to put her in a camp next to the cubs and once they had bonded (lying next to each other on the each side of the fence) they could be released as a new pride. This will give them a better chance of survival. So we can all hold thumbs.