At the end of May HESC received a male lion (approximately four years of age) that had been caught in a snare. In his bid to escape he broke both canines on his left side and also bit off the tip of his tail. A surgeon gave him root canal treatment and amputated his tail.  His paw, which was also injured, has healed very well. He was kept in quarantine until the 10th of June and then transported to a well known reserve in Hoedspruit. He’ll stay there in a boma until he heals completely, and thereafter he’ll be released back into the wild.


Habana and Khula, the two cheetahs that were released early last year and then subsequently brough back to the Centre are both doing well. Habana was the first to be brought back after a broken ankle left him unable to hunt. His ankle has healed nicely, but unfortunately it will never return to normal so he won’t be able to be released back into the wild. He was very aggressive when he first got back to HESC, but he’s a lot more relaxed now.

Khula – the hand-reared cheetah – missed the company of his human family too much, so in the end he came back as well. He does get to stretch his legs every afternoon though, and is also loving all the attention he get gets from the staff and visitors. This popular fellow was adopted recently.

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Last week Saturday Toffee, one of the female cheetahs, gave birth to two cubs. Sadly one of them was dead and the other barely alive. He was immediately put on the Bair hugger machine which very fortunately was donated to the centre. The vibration of the machine simulates the mother’s heartbeat and is therefore excellent for treating newborns. They also spun some blood and injected it under the cub’s skin in order to get some white blood cells into its system as it wasn’t able to suckle immediately. Unfortunately the second cub didn’t make it either, and passed away on Thursday night.


On a happier note Tilla’s cubs, who are now about two months old, are not only doing well, but are also proving to be talented artists. The youngsters are often allowed to paint and then these works of art are sold in the Curio Shop. And so HESC’s legacy for creating artists continues: first Max, then Sheila and her mates, and now our darling new cubs. These naturals quicly showed off their talents as they effortlessly “painted” the crisp sheets of paper that were laid down for them. Of course, getting their paws full of paint wasn’t enough for these rambunctious youngsters, they had to get their faces full of paint as well. They have yet to be named, so any suggestions would be most welcome.

Read about how you can get involved with veterinary work experience.