Johan’s Diary – July 13, 2016
Today Sophie and I together with Andi’s daughter Taiga went to buy food in Harrismith for the inauguration of the Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon enclosure tomorrow. We purchased two shopping carts worth of food including cakes, sweets, drinks and sausages, as we will be having a braai, which is South African for barbeque. We got lots of party hats that will be handed out along with treat bags filled with sweets for the children living close by! After lunch Sophie and I went to our enclosure to put up the Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon sign on the gate to the entrance. We went inside the enclosure and walked around the whole place to check it out one last time before the lions move in tomorrow. Andi’s team was also inside doing one last check and cleaning up any pieces of fence left behind from the construction. Sophie asked Andi’s team if there were any snakes in the enclosure and they said that there are two types of snakes, the puff adder and spitting cobra. However they informed us that these two types are sleeping now and won’t be out until September.
At the top of the enclosure it is at an altitude of 1 700 meters that is higher than where Home of Hope is in Nepal. The altitude at base camp where we live is 1 600 meters, so it was quite steep within the enclosure. The enclosure is 1.5 hectares large and quite flat where the entrance is located. As you go further into the enclosure it becomes steeper as it is located on the beginning of a hillside. In three different locations there are some really big rocks for Mandla and Isibindi to lay and climb on. As well, a ditch that leads into a watering hole where water can gather from the hillside. At the moment the watering hole is dried up, as it has not rained here in awhile. It feels as if Andi has thought of everything the lions will need within the enclosure.
The great help of Andi’s team and Norwegian girl volunteers have finished taking away all scrap metal most likely from old cars that used to sit in the enclosure. They also worked hard today to remove foreign shrubs that are not native to South Africa. The enclosure is now ready for the lions to move into! Later in the afternoon we had a meeting with Andi to go over the plans for the inauguration tomorrow. The inauguration will start by having a vet, covered by Lööf Foundation, come to Appin Farm to do a medical check on Carl after lunch. Then he will go and dart our two lions, Mandla and Isibindi to be able to move them to the Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon enclosure. Sophie and I will be allowed to be a part of the darting process, as well as transporting the lions to the new enclosure. Apparently it takes six people to move one sleeping lion, so many helping hands will lift the lion onto the back of the truck and drive it 300 meters to the Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon enclosure. We will then proceed by having a ribbon cutting ceremony to the enclosure, followed by a South African barbeque with an estimated 40 guests including the landowners of Appin Farm! We would like to thank the two volunteer girls from Norway for working to get things ready with the Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon enclosure today!
Sophie and I will go into town tomorrow to buy rope to be able to hang the buoys we brought for the lions. One buoy will be hung in the Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon enclosure, while the other will be hung in Mela’s enclosure. We will also purchase three locks for the enclosures gates since there is one on three sides of the enclosure.
The new cub that we rescued yesterday now officially goes by the name Carl, after the Swedish King Carl Gustaf. He slept with Andi last night. Unfortunately he has not eaten anything or taken formula yet since his stomach is a bit swollen. He has only put his tongue down to taste food so far. It is believed that he may have worms and this is the reason he has not eaten. We will know for sure after the vet check up tomorrow. However he seems to be happy and very curious as he walks around exploring. His eyes are more open today, as the calming medicine has full worn off. Andi on the other hand is feeling quite ill today, so Sophie gave her some medicine to make her feel better.
We are very much looking forward to moving Mandla and Isibindi tomorrow, as they have been shy and not coming out in the open of their enclosure much. The Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon enclosure is much more open, so Andi will be able to keep better track on their health and overall wellbeing. Andi told us today that the meaning behind Mandla means power and Isibindi is Zulu for “afraid of nothing/brave heart”. We hope that the lions will enjoy their new space, and I cannot wait to celebrate their new home tomorrow!
Lööf Foundation representative