30 January 2020
Drainage of the outside enclosures
At the moment we’re busy improving the drainage of the outside enclosures. Some of them retain a lot of water after a few rain showers. Fortunately, the water is not all over the enclosure and the animals are not really bothered by it. In fact, some of the tigers like splashing through the puddles. Still, we’d like the enclosures to be and look as dry as possible. This is a sizeable project. We drill holes which we fill up with coarse gravel. We apply a fresh layer of sand, by wheelbarrowing it into the enclosures and spreading it out with rakes. This is hard and time-consuming work, but we do it together, with ardour. Depending on the size, it takes three people two afternoons to improve one enclosure. For a few enclosures these measures are not enough; we’re making concrete plans for structural improvement. We also raise the floor of the cabins with sand and add a nice bed of straw for cold days. After spending a day inside, the animals can enjoy a dry enclosure and a warm bed.
How are things with
Aslan is now four years old. He arrived as a small, scared cub, very intimidated by the world around him. Now it’s a different story. He is an adult now, much bigger than his partner Ayla. He’s not easily scared anymore and is very occupied with his neighbour Simba and vice versa. Hunting doesn’t interest him much. He usually pretends to be busy with other important stuff. When the prey comes close, he uses the element of surprise to catch the prey quickly. He adores his Ayla and the two of them regularly play.
Ayla is five years of age. The days of the tiny cub with the cute spots are long gone. As a cub Ayla was much more confident than Aslan was. And she’s still a feisty lady. She has loads of energy; we sometimes call her the ninja lion, because she can actually run on the walls. She will take off and jump from wall to wall. Four legs against the wall, jump against the other wall, without touching the floor. Sometimes she practises her ninja skills on Aslan, using him as a jumping horse. Aslan is a lot stronger than Ayla, but not fast enough to follow his wife’s antics
Sya and Chen
The sisters Sya and Chen are not often the topic of discussion. They are two shy leopards who like their peace and quiet. They are often active, but as soon as there are people about, they retreat on top of their cabins or at the back of the enclosure. They sometimes tease neighbour leopard Fred, which greatly annoys his roommate Ginger. The ladies do not hunt and don’t go into the big hall. We consider ourselves fortunate that they even come inside for feeding. As these sisters like the outside, we try to often make small changes to their enclosure, by means of enrichment. They are especially susceptible to scent enrichment. They can climb very well and like to be high up, to keep an eye on things.
Bakari is the chief of his pride, which consists of himself, Jessy, Sarabi and Dumi. He is a good leader; a steady, calm lion on whom his ladies can always depend. He is not easily bothered, but once he is, you’d better run! He’s not very playful, but excellent at lazing about. He is a good hunter and always enjoys a hunting session. His unwieldy body reaches a high speed in no time and even though he is quite clumsy, once the prey is close, he is very fast at knocking it from the simulator.