South Africa’s winter months are over, temperatures are rising, and the lions and tigers are enjoying the changing seasons; getting up earlier to stretch out in the sunshine, hunkering down in the shade in the hottest part of the day, livelier in late afternoon and after dusk.
In the coming weeks, the roof of the lions and tigers’ dens (which is the viewing platform), will be used more for sunbathing on top, and morning to mid-day, the den below provides shade. As the nights get warm, we are now removing the heavy rubber insulation to put away for next year, and the hay bales are re-purposed as entertainment. Our Spice Girls (tigers Jade, Luna, Sun and Moon) especially, do love to smash the hay bales about for fun, so we will leave them in the enclosures.
Everyone has pulled together, under the leadership of Operations Manager Patrick Molotja and Head of Security Trevor Kalp, to keep our precious lions, tigers, chickens, ducks, Rolo the dog, and other animals safe. A hard winter and being shut off from the world by the COVID lockdown, has actually strengthened our team.
Our most recent emergency was lioness Shakira who, after a week in the hospital, identifying a mysterious chest problem, has responded well to treatment. She is getting back to her old self, eating all of her food, taking her medication each morning, and then stalking and leaping on her sister Easy.
Treating Shakira underlined for us that we really must finish the metal mesh internal walls in the night-houses. These create a safe human corridor with feeding hatches and individual rooms with connecting doors for our residents. This allows us to bring sick animals into the house for close observation and giving medications. We only have the internal metal mesh walls in two houses, and since we rescue animals from the worst conditions, health issues are inevitable. Right now, we have ten animals needing daily medication. Without treatment, some of our tiger residents would suffer seizures. We are expecting that as they all grow older, more will need medication to live their lives to the fullest.
Internal walls are going to be a top priority for the next several months. A wonderful and generous donor bought us a welding machine and now, we need to buy the metal to make these internal walls. We are lucky that one of our staff, Sello, is a trained welder. We just need to get the materials. Choosing our priorities is always tough, but over the next few months, these internal walls must come ahead of the next round of heated floors.
We have heated floors in the night-houses for our most senior lions, who don’t have a companion’s body for warmth during the night. As our precious family grows old with us, we aim to install heated floors in all the houses.
Thank you for your support through these difficult times. Anything you can continue to do to help these animals, is deeply appreciated.