Morgan’s Diary – November 20, 2016
I got up early this morning to do a fence check with Martin. We went along the outside of the fences with this remote to check the electricity. You put it against the electric part, and check the voltage. The voltage was around 8.5-8.7 which means the fence was perfect. We walked around and pulled out any leaves or sticks that get in between the wires. We also said hi to Mela, Isibindi and Mandla as we walked along side their enclosures. This has been Martins job to do every morning while he’s here volunteering. I may join him a couple more mornings as it’s quite interesting.
I sat outside with Martin writing down notes while he read. Then Tale and Line showed up, so that meant it was time for work! We started by checking to see if the meat we had hung yesterday was thawed through. It was good, along with the box of organs we left to thaw. We loaded all the meat onto the back of the truck and headed off to feed the lions! Line and I were in the back with the meat and helped each other to throw it up and over the enclosure walls. Then we headed up the mountain to give Carl liver which is his favourite. I’ve never been so dirty in my life until after that experience.
We worked on the tent which we put up over the kitchen yesterday that will be for volunteers in the future. We had to finish screwing in holes into the metal of the tent, into the wooden poles. It took quite awhile to do this and all four of us helping, but we got it done. It felt great to complete this as we know that this tent is not going anywhere during a storm.
We had a briee (South African bbq) for lunch which was really yummy! I helped Line and Tale prepare bottles for Odin and Mulan. We put in 120ml of cooled off boiled water, Espilac which is puppy formula, colostrum which is the same as the first milk a cub gets from it’s mother. Then you add moducare which are vitamins to strengthen their immune system, and a pinch of protein. In Odin’s bottle he gets thiamin because his leg has been twitching, but now Mulan gets some in her bottle now because it is good for them. They get mince meat two times a day in their bottles and 5-6 spoons of IAMS which is kitten food that is mixed with warm water.
Mulan eats meat sometimes but Odin isn’t interested in meat at all yet. However it was very exciting when he ate a piece of fillet that we were going to cook for lunch. He is apparently just like Mela when she was a cub, as she would only eat fillet meat when she first started eating meat. After speaking with Line about the cubs, she told me it takes around 8 000 South African Rand (SEK 5 100) to feed a cub until it starts eating meat all the time. Typically a cub moves to only eating meat when they are around three months old.
I love feeding the cubs because they come running to you when they see the bottle and then they jump into your lap and grab the bottle between their paws and start drinking so fast. You have to hold the bottle up for them to drink. If they have their claws out while you are holding the bottle then you just lightly tap their paws and say “soft paws” or “softly” and they retract their claws. Same thing goes for if they start to bite you. It’s the cutest when they finish feeding because you take the bottle away after they are fnished and they have this look of satisfaction on their face. Then they just sit in your lap for a minute. Most times Odin will rub his head against mine, which feels like he is saying thanks before it gets up out of your lap.
We took the cubs on their first walk up the mountain to this huge rock. They loved it! They would run and go in the bushes and then stop to play with each other! When we got to the top of our walk we could hear these loud noises. We could see on the rocks quite far away from us a group of baboons that were making alot of noise. When we came back from our walk Andi was there so we had a fire with her. Carl was out with us playing with his soccer ball. Then he came over to me and walked across me where I was sitting a couple times.
Then eventually he laid right down in my lap so I scratched his back and spoke to him. Then we rubbed heads together and I could feel so much love for Carl in that one instance. Lions are thought to be this killing machine, that is cold and has no emotion, but in reality they’re just like any other animal or human, looking for love. Carl is so big now compared to the photos I saw of him when he was only two months old. I could especially tell how big he was when the weight of his body was in my lap, and his big paws were on my shoulders when we rubbed heads. A moment I will never forget for as long as I live.
So happy and grateful for this day and all my amazing experiences here so far at the Love Lions Alive Sanctuary. I am quickly learning just how much work, attention and dedication it takes to look after these incredible lions. But most of all, I’m learning about how much love goes into looking after the lions and giving them the best life they can have and deserve.
Lööf Foundation representative