What a week!

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I’m probably the worst blogger alive. But anyway, here we are again! =)

Sooo much happened this week and as soon as I wanted to sit down in the evenings to write something for the blog, there was another party or another braai or a wonderful sundown or just something else very exciting so.. sorry for that!

This week began with the arrival of our new room mate Suzanne. She is a professional volunteer from Great Britain, living in South Africa and taking part in a variety of Animal Welfare Projects. She had been to Lionsrock before, so she knows already a lot about the cats. She just had to get used to her crazy new room mates, but it only took us one funny evening to become friends.

It was a very special week because on Thursday, 6 tigers arrived from Felida, an Animal Rescue Center in the Netherlands which was taken over by Four Paws in October 2013. It has been existing for 20 years, but the animals lived under very bad conditions. Now, Four Paws will transfer the animals which are strong and healthy enough for a transport to sanctuaries like Lionsrock, where they live a much better life. The cats which are too weak for transport will stay in Felida which has been renovated in order to provide an appropriate and ethical home for them.

So the beginning of the week consisted of doing our usual rounds and helping to get the new enclosures clean and ready for the new tigers. In the new enclosures, the animal keepers cut the trees, so we had to carry away the branches and to pick up any rubbish and pieces of iron fences left over from construction.

On Thursday,the tigers arrived, so in the morning we did the last cleaning round in the enclosures. We were so excited because we knew that the tigers could only be released the same evening if they would arrive at 15.30 latest. It’s winter here, so it gets dark at around 18.30 and releasing the tigers in the dark would be a big risk. But as expected, the tigers arrived late and the release was shifted to the next morning. However, two of the young tigers had to be released immediately after arrival, since one of them was in bad conditions due to the long journey from Holland to South Africa. But only the animal keepers were present so that it was possible to release them quickly and safely. On Thursday evening we went up to the Lodge and met so many interesting people from Four Paws and from Felida. We had a lot of meat and wine for dinner, so that was a really nice and funny evening.

Friday was the Big Day. We went up early and got ready, all excited. But TIA – This Is Africa – and even though we were ready at 07.00, we got picked up only 10mins before the start of the release and so as we arrived, the whole thing just started. After safety instructions, one tiger after the other was released. You may have that picture in your mind of happy tigers jumping out of their transport boxes, running into the limitless wild African Bush. Sorry for disillusioning you! But that’s not how it works. These tigers had lived in enclosures of about 250m2, they had never felt grass under their paws or seen a tree. So putting them immediately into big enclosures (1-1,5ha) would be too much for them and it is very probable that they would go crazy or start to fight. However, the release is a process, and the animals have to be monitored well especially during the first days and weeks. Also, they are first released into adaption enclosures. They are only very small (still more than double the size of their previous home!!!) so that the tigers get used to the new situation. Totally new impressions, smells and noises overwhelm them.

Friday evening we had a Gala Dinner and it was just awesome. We had African food, a couple of good drinks and danced all night long. So Saturday morning we were all quite tired, but we got our energy back just in time: for the sunset in the mountains. It was a wonderful moment watching the sun colouring the skye in deep red and disappearing at the African horizon. After the sundown, we drove down to the cave where we had a cave dinner. We sat around the fire, having a braai and drinking some wine. And oh South African skye, how beautiful you are! Covered by thousands and thousands of shiny stars. It was an amazing night without a single cloud in the skye. John showed us the Scorpion on our way to the Lodge, where we ended this perfect evening in sweet company (Springbooks mixed by Brown, the best bar keeper ever!).

On Sunday we recovered from the last few evenings and had our last NatashaSuzanneSara dinner. Natasha and also Elke left today. It was a great time with you. Thank you so much!!! I hope Elke, you get your working visa quickly, so you can come back very soon. Lucy misses you, but I’m just sitting here with her, she is snoring and seems happy to get some cuddles 🙂
And Natasha, my BFF (haha) you are the craziest girl with the craziest hair. I miss you already! Hope everything goes well in Paris! Poop poop!!

Today I planned my trip to Cape Town, which is now actually OUR trip, since Suzanne will join me. It is going to be awesome! We have planned a lot of exciting stuff, from horse riding and wine tasting to paragliding and cruzking around with our small rental car (thousand thanks and kisses for having -and BRINGING- a credit card, dear Suzanne! 😉 )

I will keep you up to date – I promise! We also have some exciting plans for the coming weekend. If everything goes fine, I will finally see the BIG 5! 😀

Hugs and kisses from Lionsrock! The lions rock!

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