The story of 2 Ladies and 2 Lions
Thanks to the determination of two amazing woman – Drew and Maxine – two little lion cubs – Lia and Elsa – have arrived at their Safe Final Forever home, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary. When asked how she feels about that, Drew says “Relieved! Relieved with the knowledge that they (Lia and Elsa) will be safe for the rest of their lives.”
So we would like to WELCOME Lia and Elsa to the South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance and their new home at Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary. Lia is a tawny 6 month old Lioness and Elsa a 9 month old white Lioness…or should I say Lioness in the making.
Lia is not the first (or only) lion cub that Drew has saved. To date 10 lions have been saved thanks to Drew. When Maxine first met Elsa she felt a strong connection, and from this first moment, she knew she had to save her. We believe that this will also not be the last lion Maxine saves.
Due to the abuse that Lia (the tawny lion cub) had to endure in her earliest days – living in a hamster size cage and being fed nothing but camel milk – her growth is severely stunted. Lia is however under the care now of our amazing Vet Brendan Tindall who feels comfortable that Lia will be much better off now that she is here at Jukani and on a safer healthier diet. Before her rescue, Lia also suffered a broken left shoulder which was not taken care of. As result, she might always walk with a slight limp and be smaller than the other lions but she makes up for that in attitude.
Elsa has endured emotional and physical abuse which she now needs to recover from, and we hope that living with Lia with whom she has already bonded, and being free from human interference will help her become a confident lioness.
SAASA (South African Animal Sanctuary Alliance) and especially the Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary team would like to take this opportunity and say WELCOME Lia and Elsa. As well as saying thank you! Thank you to Drew and Brian Abrahamson, Maxine Prins, PAWS SA – Hilton Button, The Pet Lounge, Pets want to travel, Paul Tully, Jill Burton, Diana Zulficker, Hesham Sheta, Dr Abdullah Hassin, Vet Brendan Tindall and our team!
So if you are looking for something amazing to do….come and visit our Sanctuaries and welcome these new arrivals.
The Africa Media team brought some students to Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary to test out their skills. Here are few they shared with us. Please note these photos are the property of Africa Media and their Students.
Click on the photo to see the larger full image. Enjoy! Wildlife Photography!
The weekend of Skål goodness ended in a Gala dinner filled with wowing entertainment, loads of awards, great food, and a raffle that had no end.
For the past several months Kim Reuter at Temple University and Melissa Schaefer at the University of Utah have been collecting photographs from tourists who encountered lemurs in homes, restaurants, resorts and hotels. So far their Pet Lemur survey has amassed sightings of 685 pet lemurs. According to data presented this week at the International Congress for Conservation Biology an astonishing 28 percent of the animals spotted were ring-tailed lemurs.
That number “is a really, really bad sign,” says Reuter, the lead researcher on the project and one of the founders of the Lemur Conservation Network. It is especially disturbing because there are no estimates for the wild population of ring-tailed lemurs, although all indications show that they are on the decline. “I think that we need a lot more research in order to know exactly what sort of threat we’re facing,” Reuter says, “though it’s safe to say that the illegal pet trade could be impacting a large amount of the population.”
As you might guess, the lemurs don’t always do well in captivity. “The conditions of the lemurs in restaurants and the other settings are, on average, not great,” Reuter says. They’re often provided with foods that don’t match their natural diets and they’re often housed alone—not an ideal situation for a very social species. The lemurs are also usually kept on ropes or in small cages, leading to abnormal behavior such as repetitive pacing.
Reuter says not all owners mistreat their lemurs. “There are owners who are taking the time to provide a good environment for their pet lemurs,” she says. “I would estimate that most owners are not purposefully keeping lemurs in bad conditions. On the contrary, I think lemurs are kept in bad conditions because keeping primates in captivity is difficult and takes a lot of resources that most people, even well-intentioned people, don’t have in Madagascar.”
Reuter and her colleagues will continue to gather lemur sighting reports and are now working on several policy-related documents about captive lemur ownership. “There are lots of lemurs in illegal captivity but there isn’t much capacity to deal with the situation,” she says. “For example, the government is supposed to confiscate lemurs and then place them in legal captive facilities, but these facilities simply do not have the capacity to take in thousands of lemurs.” She points to one organization, Lemur Love, that is aware of dozens of animals being kept illegally but it doesn’t have the resources to rescue them.
The pet trade is just one of the many threats facing lemurs. Lisa Gould of the University of Victoria, one of the world’s preeminent ring-tailed lemur researchers, says deforestation and the bushmeat trade have been particularly hard on the species. “Most known populations, the ones where biologists have conducted research, seem to be quite isolated in forest fragments, often with no nearby fragments for male dispersal at all,” she says, adding that all known populations are smaller than 250 individuals. “Some populations consist of a few dozen or even fewer.”
In recent years conservationists have focused primarily on deforestation and hunting. Reuter says it’s time to add the pet trade to that list. “Lemur Love has a hard time competing with larger organizations for funding partly because the pet trade is still viewed as a problem that is not as important as other threats facing lemurs.” If the new research is any indication, then that blind eye toward the pet trade could be a black eye in lemur protection.