The ‘Old Lady’ (Mama Cat) was euthanized during June 2014. She was very thin due to the bad condition of her teeth. Her approximate age was 16 – and in the wild she would have not survived to this age.
It is always sad to have to put an animal down. Mpumalanga Parks Board and Nkomazi Municipality made the final decision and the euthanizing was done by Park Board’s vet in a most professional manner and with the assistance of our Municipal Rangers, John Webber (Chief Honorary Ranger) and Joce Gordon (Deputy Chief Honorary Ranger).
We have had our lions in Lionspruit officially since December 2003 – that is for nearly 11 years. Our choice was to let Mama Cat die of starvation as she was not able to eat well, or to euthanize her. If we had chosen the former (which is extremely cruel as starvation is a horrible death) then the other lions would have accepted her demise. However, as they did not see her die, they continued to look for her and call for her for a few weeks after her being euthanized.
The male, called Fluffy due to his beautiful, full mane and Dezi (also known as Little Lady) are moving around together and are both in good condition. These photos were taken on 9 July.
At this point in time, it has been decided to leave just these two lions in Lionspruit. The possibility of putting in another 2 lionesses and taking Dezi out has been shelved for the time being.