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Top surgeon for Bones the lion

Top surgeon for Bones the lion

Mr Bones a gentle and loving lion
Mr Bones a gentle and loving lion
Wild Is Life

Bones was a relatively early arrival at Wild is Life. During a period of great stress, his mother had left Bones and his siblings for dead; however, Bones had an indomitable spirit. He was retrieved from a farm in Karoi by Meryl Harrison and Sarah Carter and sent to Wild is Life Trust as a three-day-old orphan.

During his first year, Bones went through considerable health challenges, probably because he did not receive the life-giving colostrum that is vital to the health of any newborn animal. Bones’s teeth did not erupt properly and were weak, and he has had to have dental treatment in the past, but nothing prepared us for what he needed to go through this time.

Having noticed that Bones was not well, we called our veterinarians, Dr Lisa Marabini and Dr Keith Dutlow, to investigate the cause of his illness. Apart from his kidneys not being in good functioning order, Bones’s lower canines were abscessed and needed urgent attention.

Specialist Maxillo-Facial Veterinary Surgeon, Dr Gerhard Steenkamp, was contacted at Pretoria University. He agreed to fly up to Zimbabwe to perform what would be difficult surgery. With three veterinarians in attendance, Bones went through a procedure that lasted three hours, to remove one lower canine. Unfortunately, the other canine could not be removed, as Bones had been under anaesthetic for a long time, and his kidney function was of concern to the vets.

Bones recovered well from his surgery, but was not in good humour, as he was not allowed to eat bones for some weeks. His food was chopped up on a daily basis, with antibiotics, vitamins and minerals added.

He is now well healed and back to his former self - a gentle and loving lion. He has become an icon, an astonishing ambassador for his species, as visitors to Wild is Life Grand Zimbabwe have the opportunity to look into those deep pools of light that are his eyes.

Wild is Life

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 13, June 2013)