Survival intervention

Grumeti | May 2016

The four lion cubs first seen on the Sasakwa Plains close to the main road in April are still around and things seem to be going well, but for a moment there, their well-being was uncertain.

At the beginning of the month, the four cubs and their mother were seen, but the mother was not in good condition. She had clearly been in a very intense fight with another lion and she had a deep wound in her back left thigh, deep scratches on her back and front left shoulder, and one of her left claws was partially severed from her paw.

The lioness’ condition was quickly reported to the Singita Grumeti Fund conservation management team. The team and a few of the guides, with the local vet in tow, soon relocated the lioness. The vet was able to easily dart her with a tranquilizer gun, and once she had succumbed to the tranquilizer, soon got to work.

As a rule, the conservation team does not usually treat animals that sustain naturally occurring wounds.
The only exception to this rule is when an endangered animal, like this lioness, is involved.

The team cleaned her wounds and sprayed them with a strong healing spray, which assists in rapid recovery of the wounds by both disinfecting and drying. The spray also contains an element that keeps flies and other bugs away from the wound. They also gave her injections of antibiotics. Once all of the work was done, they placed the lioness in a nice shady spot, as they knew she would be quite groggy once the tranquilizer wore off, and would stay in the same spot for a while. Once she was in the shade, the vet injected the lioness with the antidote to the tranquilizer. The lioness remained in that spot for the rest of the day, dozing and sleeping off the drugs.

Luckily, the lioness had left her cubs at their denning spot, so the team was able to avoid the cubs being put under the unnecessary stress of seeing their mother in this situation.

Over the remainder of the month, the mother was seen with her cubs, her wounds healing and making positive progress daily. By the end of May she was almost fully recovered, and her cubs are healthy and well.

We are very thankful for the support of the Singita Grumeti Fund conservation team for all of their work in ensuring the successful survival of this female and her cubs.