News from the wild

The Circle of Life: Eva’s New Chapter as a Mother

Published on: May 20, 2023

After being rescued from a South African canned hunting farm, all seemed to be well for the pride of four – Georges, Julie, Elma, and Eva.

They were living together in the same enclosure at Bela Bela sanctuary when the team witnessed Eva being bullied and ostracised. This might have been because Eva is the youngest out of the four.

To prevent the situation from escalating, Eva was moved to live with Christiaan, an older lion who sadly lost his partner to old age.

Christiaan's & Eva's new enclosure
Majestic Christiaan

Eva and Christiaan are getting along well. Maybe a little too well…

In mid-March, Eva gave birth to three beautiful and healthy cubs. No one expected that because Christiaan underwent a vasectomy about 12 years ago. As he is a lot older now, we do not want to risk putting him under the knife and anaesthesia again, therefore, collectively, the team decided to have Eva spayed.

Preparing to dart Eva
Sedated Eva

The darting process took about 45 mins. The journey to the vet was definitely a sight for the locals because it’s not every day an unconscious lion gets transported through a South African city. The operation lasted roughly two hours and was free of complications.

We isolated Eva for a day to let her recuperate and the day after, she was already up and running with Christiaan.

Eva’s cubs are called Dingaan, Daisha, and Deeka.

Dingaan is the sole male, his mellow personality balances out the energy of the three siblings.

Daisha is the female with light fur, she is bossy and seems to be the alpha as of now. Deeka, the other female but with dark fur, is feisty and has the biggest appetite.

Because Eva is a young and inexperienced mother, and Christiaan was seen committing infanticide, the team decided to interfere and raise the cubs. The three are bottle-fed every three hours and are growing really fast. For the next six months, the cubs have to be checked by the vet on a monthly basis. A larger enclosure has already been built for them, where the cubs will be transferred once they are weaned.

The cubs' future enclosure

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