Glen Vena, Animal Care Manager, at our two big cat sanctuaries in South Africa, gives his latest update.

THEA (front), HORUS (left), CERSEI (back left) AND DADOU (back right)

The lions have settled in nicely and are enjoying their new home. Horus spends more time relaxing between the top and the middle of their enclosure. His mane is growing and he will soon be roaring with the other big cats.

Dadou is gaining confidence day by day. He is still nervous, but not like before. He is very social, especially with Horus – they rub their heads together to strengthen the bond between them.

Cersei and Horus get along very well. Occasionally, Cersei gets overprotective of Horus when she doesn’t want Thea getting too close to him. Cersei tries to separate them by going between them, but generally they all get on very well.

Thea is growing and is not a little cub anymore. She tries to get in front of everyone and when the others block her, somehow, she finds a way around them. She is very active early in the mornings and likes to watch us when we do our fence checks.  


Nelson is eating well and looking good for his age, he turned 20 in January. His loud roar continues to echo over the valleys and remains a favourite wake up call with the guests staying at a nearby lodge. 

He is still very wary of us, even after all this time, but we respect his choice and never force our agenda. If he doesn’t want to be seen, he will hide in the middle of his enclosure. We move Nelson into his hospital camp when we need to clean his main camp. As soon as we have finished, Nelson goes around his main camp marking each bush and kicking up the grass with his back legs, smelling the air. Typical lion behaviour!


The brothers like to relax in the early morning sun. They stalk each other, groom one another, sleep a lot and generally seem to be enjoying life. Interaction with their young neighbours – Horus, Dadou, Cersei and Thea – is primarily one-sided. The young pride pay more attention to the brothers, than the brothers do to them. 

One day, Black was chasing his brother. At first Jora didn’t want to comply with Black’s demands, but he kept on insisting and eventually Jora gave in. The play didn’t last for long, as it seemed Black just wanted some attention.


Sami loves his food and never wastes anything. He is still a favourite with the visitors. If they see him, he will be on his climbing platform or lying against his water trough to cool down on hot days. He also likes to explore and inspect each and every hole, checking for mice and lizards. However, there are days when he does not want to be seen. He has a choice and we respect his decision for privacy.


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