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DOOR DE OGEN VAN DE DIERVERZORGER (BLOG 3)

De dierenarts en Simba’s verhuizing

22 augustus 2019,
Sandra Kuijmans

Dierenarts Guus komt voor vaccinaties.
Onze dierenarts Guus Blokland is langs geweest om een aantal dieren te vaccineren, waaronder Simba B (we hebben al een Simba en bovendien komt deze Simba uit Bagdad, vandaar de B). Dit doet hij door middel van een blaaspijp. Het vaccin zit meteen in de pijl zelf, dus het vaccineren kan op die manier gebeuren, zonder dat het dier verdoofd hoeft te worden.

Dierenarts Guus vaccineert Ayla

Dierenarts Guus vaccineert Simba B

Veruit de meeste dieren kennen Guus inmiddels en zijn op z’n zachtst gezegd niet bepaald blij met zijn bezoek. De leeuwinnen worden meestal zeer fel. Voor ons is het nooit leuk om te zien dat de dieren stress hebben, maar het hoort er nu eenmaal bij. Het is net als een tandartsbezoekje. Meestal niet zo leuk, maar het moet even gebeuren. Het is in mum van tijd gepiept en dan zijn ze er weer voor een jaar vanaf. Guus vindt dat Simba B er al een stuk beter uit ziet (en dat vinden wij ook!). Zijn spieropbouw gaat de goede kant op!

Simba’s verhuizing
Eindelijk is het zover. Simba mag uit de quarantaine en verhuizen naar stichting leeuw. Ter voorbereiding is er krattraining gedaan met Simba, zodat hij alvast kon wennen aan de transportkist (zie onderstaande video’s). Ook wordt er targettraining met hem gedaan, wat twee doelen dient: ten eerste is het een manier om vertrouwen te winnen en een band op te bouwen, ten tweede is het een soort fysiotherapie voor hem, doordat hij meer beweegt en de spieren anders gebruikt dan bijvoorbeeld tijdens het lopen.

VIDEO 1 KRATTRAINING
VIDEO 2 KRATTRAINING

Maandag ging het gebeuren. De transportkist werd vastgekoppeld aan zijn verblijf en toen was het afwachten. Zou hij er wel in lopen? Het is toch altijd wel een beetje spannend, want je wilt alles voor het dier zo rustig mogelijk laten verlopen. Het ideale plaatje zou zijn dat hij de kist inloopt, daar rustig zijn stukjes vlees opeet terwijl de kist achter hem gesloten wordt. Inmiddels weten we natuurlijk dat het vaak niet gaat zoals in het ideale plaatje, maar gelukkig doen we dit soort dingen al jaren en komt het altijd goed. In dit geval echter, ging het precies zoals in het ideale plaatje! Simba zat binnen één minuut in de transportkist en was klaar voor vertrek! Vervolgens werd Simba met de Hoenderdaell-bus vervoerd naar stichting leeuw. De hele verhuizing verliep erg soepel, mede doordat er veel tijd in krattraining en het creëren van een vertrouwensband is gestoken. In de onderstaande video van NH Nieuws is de verhuizing van Simba te zien.

NH-NIEUWS VIDEO

Wennen
Simba moet wel even wennen in zijn nieuwe verblijf. Hij heeft nu een buurman: Remy! En Remy is ook nieuwsgierig naar zijn nieuwe buurman.

Simba B

Simba B en buurman Remy

Ook nam Simba meteen plaats in het brandslang-bed van Remy (Remy was uiteraard buiten op dat moment en had er dus niet zoveel over te zeggen). Daarop hebben Jurjen en Patrick een ander brandslang-bed, van Vladimir, verplaatst naar Simba’s verblijf, zodat hij ook heerlijk in zo’n bed kan ‘hangen’. Vladimir gebruikt hem niet en wilde hem vrijwillig afstaan. Dat is dan weer aardig.

Simba B in brandslangbed van Remy

Na een aantal dagen is Simba al niet meer zo timide. Hij staat nieuwsgierig te kijken vanuit zijn verblijf. We hebben Remy in de binnenbaan gelaten zodat zij elkaar ook even kunnen zien. Simba vanuit zijn verblijf en Remy vanuit de binnenbaan. Remy wil vooral spelen en daagt Simba uit. Simba denkt daar het zijne van en laat zich soms even gelden. Aan de mensen is hij snel gewend. Elke dag lopen er heel wat mensen voor zijn verblijf langs en dat vindt hij geen probleem. Brullen kan hij als de beste, dit heeft hij ons al laten horen! Ook speelt hij al lekker, zoals te zien is in het onderstaande filmpje.

VIDEO SIMBA SPELEN MET BOEI

Voorlopig is Simba nog even binnen. Zodra hij helemaal zijn plekje heeft gevonden, zal hij ook het buitenverblijf kunnen gaan verkennen! Daarover in ons volgende blog meer!

Through the eyes of the keepers (blog 2)

8 August 2019
Sandra Kuijmans

Roy

Last week our dear colleague Roy Meulemans passed away after a tragic accident.
We are all devastated and wish his family, friends and colleagues strenght to bear this terrible loss.

Too young
Torn away from life
While you had still so much to give
So unexpected, so sudden
When you just went to work that day
We cannot comprehend that you are gone
It was an honor to know you
Rest in peace, dear Roy

 

Visit

On 1 August we had a visit from Gwen van Poorten, for the TV show ‘Zomer met Art’. The crew was filming for the TV show which aired the same night. I was a guest at that show, to talk about Stichting Leeuw. That was a very nice experience! Click this link to watch the show. Sandra bij De Zomer Met Art

Golden oldies

Baby Ayla and mum Jessy

Mother and daughter next to each other. Can you see the resemblance? To the left is baby Ayla and to the right mother Jessy. Jessy’s milk production declined a couple of weeks after Ayla was born, and she left the cub on her own. Ayla lost a lot of weight, which became dangerous. We took Ayla from her mother to save her life, and started bottle-feeding her. In the beginning Daphne kept Ayla at her home, to raise her in a quiet and stable environment. After a while Ayla came with Daphne to Stichting Leeuw when Daphne was working. And when Ayla was big enough, she moved to Stichting Leeuw permanently. In this picture Ayla is about five months old. Jessy and Ayla are in separate enclosures, but next to each other. Ayla is now an adult lioness of four years, as you can see in the video below.

Aslan and Ayla in the great hall

Aslan was in for some wild play with Ayla! They were sneaking up to each other, jumping on top of each other and having a lot of fun. Ayla tends to bully Aslan a little bit, by biting his bum. But Aslan doesn’t like that, and lets Ayla know.

Click the link to see the video: ayla en aslan_1

A keeper’s day

What does a typical day look like for us?

There are a number of jobs which need to be done every day, at almost the same times of day. There are also some extra jobs to do, and almost always some additional extra work. These are the standard jobs:

Open
We first check the enclosures and the animals, making sure they are all still there and in the right place – yes please. It never happened that a big cat was not in its enclosure and we’d like to keep it that way! When we open, we also check the animals’ physical condition and behaviour.

Clean, prepare meat
Now’s the time to start cleaning the inside and outside enclosures, which is mainly done by our excellent team of volunteers!  They are the best, every single one of them, as they help out at Stichting Leeuw, often on top of their own jobs. During the cleaning hours we let one or a group of animals in the hunting hall to play and we prepare the meat for the hunting and training sessions.

Two of our volunteers, Patricia and Anna

Preparing the meat

Do hunting sessions
At the end of the morning it’s time for the first hunting session. The lions and/or tigers are prepared, the information tape starts and we put on our headset. Showtime. Well… showtime? As I said in our last blog, we are helpless if the animals decide to do something else that we’d like. We announce a spectacular hunt to the visitors, and then all that happens is that the animal rolls around in the bamboo or is far more interested in a certain smell on a tree than in a piece of meat on the hunting simulator. And there you are; a balcony full of people looking at a tiger that has no intention at all of even looking at the ‘prey’. If this happens, we do our best to lure the animal out of the hall, so that we can hunt with another lion or tiger. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. Never mind, this is what makes working with animals fun. You just never know what they will do. Not even us. Of course, some animals are usually very keen and some usually aren’t, but we still offer every one that wants to, the opportunity to practice their natural behaviour and to enjoy the other enrichments of the hunting hall, like toys and many smells. In the afternoon we run another hunting session, and on Sundays also a third.

Aslan likes the tree better than the toy on the hunting simulator

Vladimir takes part in a training session

After the hunts there’s time for training. We train the animals for medical purposes, as an enrichment activity and as preparation for transport (I’ll tell you more about training in another blog).

After the last hunting session we do extra jobs. This can be anything from mowing and cleaning ponds in the outside enclosures, to clearing the keepers’ path and repairing all kinds of stuff. We (okay, Jurjen and a few keen volunteers) also make those nice beds and toys out of old fire hose. And we clear out the collected scat and bone leftovers. In the afternoon we prepare the enrichment for the following day. The animals get new enrichment twice a week, in many forms. I’ll tell you more about this subject too in one of the next blogs.

Feed
After all this work the feeding starts. Well, some animals were fed during the day, for logistic reasons. The rest gets to eat now, and they know it! Many walk to and fro in front of the hatch and the rest lies turned to the hatch, waiting for it to open. We let the animals in and lead them each to a separate enclosure, to avoid fights and to be able to see how much each animal eats.

Close
After our last check-up round, during which we also note how much the animals have eaten and if there are any special things, it’s time to close up. All gates and doors are locked, lights out, good night everyone!

Donor day 2019

Save the date!

This year’s donor day will be held on Saturday 2nd November.
This day is especially for all donors and adoptive parents of Stichting Leeuw. They will receive an official invite after the summer.

Through the eyes of the keepers (blog 1)

28 July 2019
Sandra Kuijmans

Animal keepers are mysterious folk. You don’t see them much, they don’t say much and many visitors wonder what it is they do all day long. This blog gives a little insight in Stichting Leeuw, through the eyes of the keepers!
First, let us introduce ourselves. The Stichting Leeuw keepers team has five people. Every day there are two keepers at work, and sometimes even three. I always say: “To each his own talent”. That works for us too. We all have our preferences and special skills. Together, we can do almost anything! That’s what makes us a strong team!

This is us:

Daphne

Sandra

Jurjen

Patrick

Saskia

So, we can get almost anything done. Almost anything, because the fact is that we work with animals. And our animals determine the show. Lions, tigers, leopards and cougars; animals to be reckoned with! They are and will always be wild, even those from circuses or the bottle-fed ones. We can’t put them on a lead. We do have some tricks at hand, but in the end it’s just the keepers tough luck if the animals decide to do different than want we wanted! This often results in changes of plans and very funny moments.

Last week it was warm. Actually, it was hot. Even here in Anna Paulowna in Holland, it was hot. Some animals can manage in the heat, but some, yes, even the lions and the Bengal tigers, suffered. We cancelled our hunting sessions for a couple of days. Exertion can be a danger to the health in these temperatures. For this reason lions hunt at night and twilight, when it is much cooler than in the middle of the day! Some of our animals rest in the shade, some lie in the ponds and many just want to stay inside, where it is about 10 degrees cooler than outside. The park has very few visitors, because most people think twice before the go to a zoo when it’s 38 degrees Celsius. At Stichting Leeuw it is serenely quiet, but the daily chores still need to be done.

Tigress Cita naps on the rocks in the great hall, under the sprinklers. Lion Simba, who is currently still in quarantine, is not troubled by the heat. He is the only one who has air-conditioning. After the daily cleaning of the inside enclosures, we feed the animals early. After feeding we open the hatches to the outside enclosures, so that the animals can choose to be inside or outside.

Afrodite stretches out on the cool floor.

Front paw of Remy, who also prefers the inside.

We spend the rest of the day doing cooling jobs, work involving water and inside jobs. For instance, we just got cabinets to keep all our tools in, so they need to be filled. We have quite a lot of tools, because there’s always jobs to do. For most of those jobs we don’t have staff. We do them ourselves. We are animal keepers, but also handymen (okay, sometimes also handywomen).

What would you like to know, or see, behind the scenes at Stichting Leeuw?
Let us know in the comments on the facebook post, with a link to this blog!

And just maybe we’ll address your question in one of our next blogs!

Extreme temperatures

Due to the high temperatures of the coming days, it might be too hot for the animals to use the hunting simulator. This means some or all sessions might be cancelled last minute. We will announce any cancellations on the time notices in the park, so please check them regularly.

Ambra and Hugo

As our lions Ambra and Hugo now both live on their own, it would be great if we could match these two. We already moved Hugo to Ambra’s enclosure, where they take turns in being outside. Through a fence in the hatch separating the inside and outside enclosure they can get to know one another.

We decided to relocate both lions to South Africa, at the same time as Simba and Isolde. Hugo and Ambra are not so young anymore, but we hope they can still spend a couple of comfortable and warm years in their original habitat.

At the moment we are waiting for the import documents for all four animals. As soon as we receive these, we can start planning the journey.

Important information!

Wednesday January 17 there will be no hunting simulator sessions, because some of our animals will have their annual innoculations.

Heavy storms are expected on Thursday January 18. If the big cats have to be kept inside, there will be no hunting sessions that day. The estate may have to be closed.