THROUGH THE EYES OF THE KEEPERS (BLOG 3)

The vet, and Simba B’s removal

22 August 2019,
Sandra Kuijmans

Vet Guus arrives for vaccinations.
Our vet, Guus Blokland, arrived to vaccinate a few animals, one of which was Simba B (we already have a lion named Simba and also this Simba comes from Baghdad, hence the B). Guus vaccinates by means of a blowpipe. The dart actually contains the vaccine, so the animals do not need to be sedated first.

Vet Guus vaccinates Ayla

Vet Guus vaccinates Simba B

Most animals know Guus by now, and it’s safe to say that most are not particularly happy to see him. Especially the lionesses get very fierce. It’s no fun for us either, to see the animals this stressed, but it’s a necessary evil. It’s like us going to the dentist; you’re not looking forward, but it needs to be done. The upside is that it’s done in an instant and it lasts a whole year. Guus thinks Simba B is doing very well (we think so too!). He’s getting more and more muscular!

Simba’s removal
Finally, Simba can leave quarantine and move to Stichting Leeuw. To prepare him, we did crate training with him, so that he could get used to the transport crate (see videos below). We also do target training with Simba B, which serves two purposes: it’s a way to gain his trust and bond with him, and it’s a kind of physical therapy for him, because he gets more exercise and uses more muscles than he would by just walking.

VIDEO 1 CRATE TRAINING
VIDEO 2 CRATE TRAINING

Monday was the big day. We secured the transport crate to his quarantine enclosure and waited. Would he just walk in? It’s always a bit nerve-wrecking, because we don’t want animals to get too stressed. Ideally he would walk into his crate and calmly eat his piece of meat while we close the crate behind him. We know from experience that it doesn’t always work this way, but we’ve been doing this for years now and in the end things always work out. But in this case everything went exactly according to plan! It took one minute to get Simba in the crate and he was ready to leave! The crate went into the Hoenderdaell van and was moved to Stichting Leeuw. So the whole removal operation went very smoothly, partly because we put a lot of effort into crate training and creating a bond of trust. The video below, broadcast by regional TV, shows the move of Simba B.

NH-NEWS VIDEO

Transition period
Simba needs some time to get used to his new enclosure. He now has a neighbour: Remy! Who is also curious about his new next door neighbour.

Simba B

Simba B and neighbour Remy

Simba immediately jumped on Remy’s firehose bed (of course, Remy was outside at that time so he had no say in the matter). So, keepers Jurjen and Patrick moved another firehose bed (Vladimir’s) to Simba’s enclosure, so that he too can ‘chill’ on one of those beds. Vladimir is not using it and kindly agreed to give the bed to Simba B. Nice, isn’t it?

Simba B in Remy’s firehose bed

After a few days Simba is not so timid anymore. He watches everything with curiosity from his inside enclosure. We put Remy in the big hall, so that they can actually see each other. Remy just wants to play and challenge Simba. Simba is not always charmed by this and makes himself heard. He quickly gets used to people. Every day quite a lot of people walk past him, which is not a problem for him. He has a very loud roar and makes sure we know it! He also likes to play, which can be seen in the video below.

VIDEO SIMBA PLAYS WITH BUOY

Simba will stay inside for a while. As soon as he is completely familiar with his inside enclosure and the hunting hall, he will be ready to explore the outside! More about this in one of our next blogs!