Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild



Aslan, the lion rescued by Born Free Foundation in 1995 from Greece and eventually rehomed at Shamwari Game Reserve was sadly euthanized  on 10th February 2011. following a deterioration in his health..  As is so common in elderly cats, wild and domestic, a blood test revealed he had significant kidney damage. 

His beloved mate Stella, was euthanized six weeks earlier, on 29th December last year.  We wondered how he was going to cope, as they had been constant companions for over 10 years, and certainly it was hard on Aslan initially, who kept calling for her and looking for her.  However, he seemed to turn a corner and become his usual assertive self once again, and his confident, territorial roars echoed off the surrounding hills.  During a bout of wet weather, a welcome break from the summer heat, he was even described as ‘frisky’.

While it appeared Aslan continued to enjoy his food, it became apparent that he was not maintaining his weight. Then, in early February, the Shamwari team noticed he was listless and appeared to have abdominal pain.  The decision was made to dart him for a proper examination.  Blood tests  revealed considerable kidney damage.  He seemed to recover a little after receiving intravenous fluids and other supportive treatment, but this was only temporary.   Like Stella, he was 22 years old and we knew his time had come. 

Aslan was euthanased and is buried next to Stella at the Julie Ward Centre.  While his death is a great loss to those who cared for him, and to all his loyal adoptive parents, it is a comfort to know he enjoyed many happy years after his rescue from a run-down zoo and his subsequent transfer to Shamwari in 1999.

Dr Johan Joubert, Shamwari’s Director and vet, remembers Aslan’s arrival and his time at Shamwari:

Aslan was without any doubt the most formidable lion that came to Shamwari. He was an exceptionally muscular and well-built lion with a huge light-brown mane.  He will be remembered for his aggressiveness and his unbelievable roaring each morning and evening that could be heard over three miles away.

Aslan had an absolute dislike of veterinarians. Most of the Born Free big cats recognise the dart gun after they have been anaesthetised for the first time, and will normally move off when approached.   Aslan was different.  He would bravely face the dart gun and charge.  Even without the dart gun he would not trust me.  Fortunately he needed very little veterinary attention.

All the staff respected Aslan. Many a time conversations at the Julie Ward centre were about Aslan and what his mood was like that day.  During fence inspections the staff would just stay that extra metre clear of the electric fence. There was nothing like a surprise from Aslan to get the heart racing.

Aslan didn’t mellow in later years but as he and Stella grew more deaf we could observe them without being seen, and watch them basking together in the sunshine, at peace in their surroundings.  Aslan just wanted to be fed then left alone with his mate to enjoy their kingdom in the bush, and that is what we tried to do.

Aslan, we salute you.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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