Sophie’s Diary – July 14th, 2016
I woke up to another beautiful morning, with the sun shining; we ate our freeze-dried breakfast outside. It is around three degrees this morning so it’s a bit chilly. In our bedroom it is 13 degrees. We sleep underneath the layers of duvets and blankets so we are staying warm. However when you need to get up and go the bathroom in the middle of the night it is very cold.
Since this is the day of the Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon inauguration we have a lot of work to do. Johan went into town together with Taiga, Andi’s daughter to do the last bit of shopping for the party today. I started straight away to organize the venue with decorating, preparing the food, etc. I had some great help from Andi’s staff and volunteers. We had bought the food for the party yesterday so only decorating and food preparation was needed. We tried to incorporate a bit of Sweden into the party with lots of blue and yellow!
At 14:00 the vet and his nurse came, they were going to help and dart the two boy lions Mandla and Isibindi who are moving into the new enclosure. First we went up with the vet to the top where baby cub Carl was, to vaccinate him, put a microchip in and give him de-worming medicine. The vet also took the opportunity to check his hips, eyes and claws. Carl looked good, but the vet saw that he had worms in his poop so it was good that he brought de-worming medicine. Baby cub Carl took was calm during and was okay afterwards, which felt very good.
Then we went back down to the enclosure where we are going to move the two boys. The vet started to prepare for darting. Since these two boys have been hiding a lot, Andi has not been able to keep track of them so well. (This is the reason why we are moving them to the new enclosure as it is situated in a much better location) It was not so easy to calculate how much anaesthesia would be needed since we didn’t know their size/weight. After everything was prepared we went into the enclosure on the back of the pick-up. Johan and I, the vet Johan and vet nurse sat plus three of Andi’s guys in the back while Andi drove. Once in the enclosure all guys (part from Johan) got off the pick-up and started to walk by foot around in the enclosure trying to find the two boy lions. They were hiding very well within a rock cliff. The vet and Andi’s guys had to climb the cliff and dart them from above. It was very hard and took quite some time. Once they were darted the BIG job started to get them out. Big sleeping lion boys weigh a lot. There were seven men working very hard.
Once the first lion was out and up on the back of the pick-up I helped the vet nurse to keep track of his sleeping. She was busy from time to time to assist the vet inside the rock cliff with more darting meds and I was checking on the state of the lion. I was a little nervous I must admit but it was very exciting! Once the two boys were on the back of the pick-up truck we went straight to the Lööf Foundation Lion Lagoon enclosure since you do not want to keep them asleep longer then needed. The two boys also got their vaccinations and de-worming medicine. After getting an antidote the first boy got up very quickly while the other boy took a little bit longer to wake up. We stayed inside the enclosure until we saw that they were both okay. We drove out and all guests were outside waiting, filming etc. I held a short speech and Andi held a wonderful speech about her dream of creating a safe haven for lions. She thanked the Lööf Foundation for believing in her and helping her. I was very moved. Then her father played the South African anthem on the bagpipes, while walking down the hill. It was so touching, one of the most beautiful moments of my life!!!
It did not end there; Andi had organized for African dancing so when we were walking down to the farm in the beautiful sunset, they started playing their drums and dancing. It was so very beautiful and touching! We gave out Lööf Foundation teddy bears to all children attending the party, they were very happy to receive these. We had lots of food and treats for everyone so it was a very successful party to celebrate the new lion enclosure. Will go to sleep tonight being very grateful for this fantastic day!!
Chairman and Founder of the Lööf Foundation