THROUGH THE EYES OF THE KEEPERS (BLOG 4)

29 August 2019,
Sandra Kuijmans

Simba B goes outside
You will probably have noticed: last Monday Simba B went outside for the first time. In the afternoon we parked Remy temporarily in another inside enclosure. Then we opened the hatch of Simba’s enclosure. As soon as Simba realised this, he went outside, without hesitating. He was very curious and inspected everything thoroughly. Half an hour is usually enough for the first time. We gradually increase the outside time, depending on an animals’ reaction. It is important that new animals slowly get used to a new environment. After half an hour Simba was relaxing in the sun. When we called him inside, he immediately came inside. So, a very successful first outside encounter! Simba shares his outside enclosure with Remy, but never at the same time. They take turns in being outside. The video below shows Simba’s first steps outside.

SIMBA B OUTSIDE FOR THE FIRST TIME, LINK NH NEWS

Simba B in his outside enclosure

Crate training Drago
To prepare animals for transport, we do crate training with them. This means that we let them get used to the transport crate which they will be in during transport to their natural habitat. First, they have to get familiar with the presence of the crate. Then we try to make them feel at ease inside the crate. We do this by making the crate fun for them. For most of our animals this means: food. The next step is to have them take pieces of meat from us while they are inside the crate. When they are completely used to the crate, all we have to do is repeat the crate training regularly, until they are actually transported. For some animals this is an easy and quick process, successful after only one training session. For other animals it takes longer. Below is a picture of Drago during crate training.

Drago in the transport crate

How are things with:

Vincent and Noëlle

Early this year we removed the fence between Vincent and Noëlle’s enclosures. This turned out to be a good match! The two cougars often lie together in their cabin outside and keep a close eye on one another. It’s good to see them enjoying each other’s company, especially for Noëlle, who lived together with a male cougar before she came to Stichting Leeuw.

Bombay

Bombay is now a lot more relaxed when he’s inside. Before, Bombay wouldn’t come inside and we were only able to clean his outside enclosure every two weeks or so. This obviously resulted in a small bone graveyard on his outside cabin. Now, things are much better! Partly as a result of training (in this case, a different way of feeding), Bombay is more inclined to go inside. As long as he knows he can go outside whenever he wants, all is well. Being locked in inside is still a problem for him, but less so than a couple of months ago. So, now we can regularly clean his outside enclosure!

Laksmi

Laksmi belongs to a group of former circus animals. She lives together with Brahmi and Sita. Laksmi still enjoys hunting but can also be very lazy. We can see she’s getting older in her appearance, but physically and mentally she’s still young! Generally, she’s an active tigress, who likes to be mentally challenged. So, she turns the hunting sessions into a competition. Who’s the smartest? All tigers have a typical way of greeting us, which we call frutten. It’s a chuffing or snorting, which sounds a bit like: ‘Ffrrrrr”. What I like about Laksmi, is that she’s the only tiger that doesn’t frut back to people, the keepers in this case. She will look at me as if I’m crazy (maybe I am a little bit).