THROUGH THE EYES OF THE KEEPERS (BLOG 14)

19 March 2020

Sandra Kuijmans

The corona virus

It’s the talk of the day, everywhere. The corona virus. It affects everyone in many ways. Us too. The park is closed. But the work stays the same. We have just as many animals, just as much cleaning and just as much feeding to do as always. We do have less volunteers around, to keep to ‘social distancing’. It is very sad for many volunteers, who work here with so much enthusiasm, passion and compassion, that they are not allowed in.
The hunting sessions carry on, as this is something we do for the animals. Training sessions are also held as normal. Actually, everything is as normal. The days pass quickly, but every time it’s a strange sight when you walk outside and there’s nobody there.

Vladimir in the training hall

Breaking news behind the scenes! After a long period of familiarizing and training with the corridor cart, Vladimir finally walked into the big hall. He’s been there a couple of times no wand is still careful. He is getting to know the environment and seems quite relaxed. After a while he strolls back inside and watches everything from an inside enclosure. He even picked a piece of meat from the simulator once. Good man! We will keep practising with him when there are no visitors, so nothing can scare him. One step at a time works best for him.
In the short video below you can see how Vladimir picks a big fender from the pond and runs off with it.

VIDEO VLADIMIR IN THE BIG HALL

Cita and Sita

Until a few weeks ago we had a Cita and a Sita in our sanctuary, actually as neighbours in the enclosures. Unfortunately, Cita passed away a couple of weeks ago. She had painful cysts on her kidneys, which couldn’t be cured. She also suffered from severe arthrosis and hip dysplasia. Painkillers couldn’t help her anymore and the only thing left to do for her was to decide to euthanize her. Always sad, but it’s part of our work as animal keepers.
A week later Sita had an operation on inflammations in her mouth. Also, some teeth and molars were taken out. After antibiotics and painkillers, Sita is now back to gnawing on sturdy bones, and her mood is a lot better than before the operation.

How are things with


Remy

Remy, our little man. Well, actually not so little anymore, but we still tend to see him as a big cub. He is now almost two years old and is bursting with energy. He looks great and he’s getting much better at hunting. He had to learn how to contain his energy and enthusiasm a little, and that works well. He’s also getting more agile while hunting. But he also still loves to stay inside and watch us work. Hopefully, now the weather is getting better and it’s warmer, he will want to go outside a bit more often.
His vocal skills are improving, which you can hear in the video below, when he’s roaring along with the rest.

VIDEO REMY ROARS TOO

Iwan

Iwan also made some big steps in the past few weeks. Crate training is improving and he now occasionally joins Drago in the big hall! He doesn’t hunt, but him going into the hall is already amazing. We leave the corridor crate open, so he can leave whenever he wants. Iwan behaves the same as Vladimir; some exploring and then move back into the safe inside enclosures, although Vladimir is more relaxed than Iwan. One step at a time also works best for Iwan. For Drago it is much better now, because he is no longer always alone in the hall.

Kuma and Valesca

Valesca enjoys sunbathing

Kuma keeps an eye on Vladimir

Kuma and Valesca needed some time to get used to each other when they first lived together. There seemed to be some kind of cohabitation agreement, which worked for both of them. Now their relationship is changing, for the better. They are more affectionate towards each other, they sometimes tease each other and look for each other’s company more often. They’re turning into a right couple! Valesca has some competition from neighbour Goha, who often flirts with Kuma. Kuma is very interested in her, so Valesca has to really make an effort. On the other side lives Afrodite, who is also quite distracting. Both Kuma and Valesca love our training sessions. As soon as one of us walks past, they both come running. So these two are doing very well!