03-05-2017 by Giovanna Grampa
We are at Tsavo and along the River Circuit we notice three male lynxes, short and short mane, walking in a flat area dotted with low bushes. We know we are three brothers and one of them limply.
Walk for a few feet without leaning on the left front paw, then stops to sit, visibly overwhelmed by the pain.
Next to him is one of the brothers, the most thin and sneer, so that one can see the ribs of the chest cage and the bones of the hips.
He follows the wounded brother with the same slower pace as if to assist and comfort him while the third lion, in good health, is out in the open plain and begins to emit a low and dull recall.
It roars to reiterate its indisputable territoriality to the savannah, while the wounded brother reaches a bush for fatigue to recover from the sun, followed by the lean brother sitting next to him with a protective attitude.
They are right in front of us, in no way disturbed by our presence and we can thus observe well the wounded paw has a marked swelling at the base and several wounds with partially coagulated blood. On the surface wounds, which are partially untreated, they suggest a recent fight with another male or a prey, a struggle from which it has come out loser and a little tried.
Detected the GPS position, take a few photos to send to KWS veterinarian Dr. Poghom, by telephone anticipating how much we have observed. The rescue procedure is started and we stay in front of the lions to keep the position until the arrival of the Mobile Veterinary Unit that reaches us in a short time. Dr. Poghom snaps some photos and then tries to get close to the lion's nose to force him to stand up a few feet away, and the poor animal falls on himself.
It is obvious that under these conditions it is necessary to intervene, so that, as the sunset approaches, it is decided to postpone the operation the following morning.
Everything will be well-coordinated, few fast and effective operations: the lion falls asleep and then the other two are separated which will be kept far away. The KWS Rangers will stray the "slim" brother and we will be tasked with keeping the third brother isolated.
Early in the morning we are again looking for the three lions. Two are lying in the sun in an open area, where it is easier to intervene, while the third one appears after about half an hour and goes to sit in the shade of a bush far enough away and in such a position that it will not be difficult to keep it under control. In the Mobile Veterinary Unit everything is ready: anesthetic rifle, armed rangers, and we cover the third lion, thrilled and with a lot of adrenaline in the body. Part of the veterinarian's car moving to the injured lion, always flanked by the protective brother. The two lions look suspicious and realize that something unpleashed is happening to them, they get up and go away in the opposite direction. Of the general amazement, however, we notice that our lion walks much better than the day before. The pace is still slow, but it leans on the four legs and at some point stops and raises his head proudly as he wants to highlight his improved state of health, looking at us with hypnotic amber eyes with a challenge.
From the veterinarian's car starts the stop signal to the operation. Nighttime resting and lion's saliva, containing strongly antibacterial enzymes, did miracles. Five or six hours of total rest will be enough for a further improvement. We are committed to returning in the evening to check the lucky lion that we are in the same area, under a different bush that is scrupulously following the vet's advice.
He rests blessed and, feeling closer to us, stretches a bit by putting the sick paw, much less swollen and with healed wounds in the foreground.
He raises his blond tits and looks at us for a moment with half-eyed eyes and then he goes back to sleeping serene, with a natural sleep and, fortunately, not because of an anesthetic.
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