Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre – Year End Update

Big Boy is a lion who has stolen the hearts of visitors from around the world, but sadly his thunderous roar will never again be heard. No more will anyone catch a glimpse of this particular king of the jungle. Children of all ages have been captivated by his appearance and roar, but as of October 23, Big Boy was put down.

Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre has had the distinct pleasure of Big Boy’s company since he was a small cub. In that time he created an amazing bond with Brian, which is part of what made the lion so special. Big Boy was like a giant teddy bear who loved attention and company.

His illness is still not diagnosed but the autopsy showed his heart was like jelly, his kidneys were swollen and his lungs flat and he became blind. Through this entire time he still hung on, slowly walking around although bumping into things, his determination to live brought tears to all who looked at him in this condition.

Recently in the news was the case of the farmer who sought a permit to shoot several lions in order to protect his livestock. After obtaining the permits and completing the task he discovered three female cubs who were now motherless. He immediately felt the weight of responsibility and contacted Brian at the Wildlife Rehab Centre. Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Center immediately took the cubs in where they were sedated for tuberculosis testing.

In other news the baby leopard Delilah has taken ill, she arrived at the centre in September of last year. Within a few days’ time her condition deteriorated rapidly and with veterinarian assistance some initial steps were taken. Delilah’s mood was quite somber and she was exhibiting blood in her stool. She was nothing like her normal bouncy, happy self. She was made comfortable in the clinic but overnight she worsened. Delilah became very lethargic and dehydrated. To avoid the risk of her worsening further, Brian quickly decided to take her to a vet in town. She was reluctant to enter the travel box but soon she was in and whisked away as soon as the doors were closed.

On arrival she was sedated and the veterinary team attended to her. With a flurry of movement she was quickly receiving multiple bags of fluid and antibiotics. Several tests were performed but no source of bacterial infection could be found. While these results did not rule out infection from another source it left us with no firm answer. With further treatment and observation needed she was left at the vet.

Leaving Delilah was very emotional; however the entire team realized she was in great hands. Within a couple of days she was back home and residing in the clinic for recuperation. Students were unaware that while Delilah was with the vet she could wander the room, much as she had at the wildlife rehabilitation centre. Despite being hand raised you can never be absolutely certain about how a leopard will behave and no one had been in her enclosure since she arrived. Thanks to Brian’s actions and generosity students were given an unexpected treat. He opens the clinic cage and allows Delilah to wander around the room. Being so close to this wonderful creature the students were stunned into silence. However, they quickly recovered as evidenced by the rapid clicking of cameras. Hundreds of pictures were taken and Delilah appeared at ease and at home walking among the students.

During the visit Brian made sure to explain to the students that this was a rare opportunity with the leopard, Delilah. The main reason she was suddenly so docile was the change in environment, everything was unfamiliar to her. The same could not be said for the habitat in which she lives, there she would be much more confident and hence aggressive. Playing with Delilah in her enclosure could result in great injury to the human body. Everyone drank in this opportune moment in time and we all rejoiced to have our girl, safe and sound back at the wildlife rehabilitation centre.

Read more about wild animal rescue and rehabilitation. If you would like to make a donation, please visit our Wildlife Rehabilitation website for further details.

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