Wounded lioness treated in the field

7 September 2023


Michael Mugo Maina, our Pride of Meru Program Manager, reports on the recent treatment of Chebby, a lioness from the Bisanadi Pride.

A team of people treat an injured lioness who is lying on the ground

On the morning of Monday 4th September, Victor Cheruyiot, our Field Assistant received a call from a guide at Porini Camp about a gloomy-looking lioness, lying down under a bush. This was then confirmed by Daniel Sururu, a guide from Rhino River Camp. We mobilized the Pride of Meru Team and drove to the site to check on the lioness.

When we arrived at the location near Kambi ya Fisi at around 8.30am, we found the lioness in a ‘resting mode’. Further checks confirmed that she had swollen cheeks and had a large amount of saliva dripping from her mouth. We identified the lioness as ‘Chebby of Bisanadi pride’, aged 3 years and 2 months (born July 2019) by using the Pride of Meru lion database.

After around 30 minutes Chebby was joined by two cubs (roughly 2 months of age) who started suckling as their mother lay still. Having observed the scene, we contacted the resident vet, Dr Duncan Aminga who sought more information about the lioness via phone. About two hours later, Dr Aminga, accompanied by a team of Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) rangers, arrived on the scene to asses the situation. After confirming that the area was safe, and that none of the other Bisanadi Pride lions were in the vicinity, he administered a tranquilizer using a dart to immobilise Chebby.

The team then stretchered Chebby to a safe point under an Acacia tree on the sideline of River Mulika for diagnosis and treatment, whilst her cubs sheltered under a nearby tree. A combined Team of KWS, Born Free, Sheldrick Trust and Rhino River Camp/Porini Camp took part in the treatment of Chebby. Dr Aminga confirmed that the lioness had suffered external injuries on the skin and soft tissue injuries in the mouth probably due to a buffalo kick – a buffalo carcass was found a few metres away. Chebby’s wounds were cleaned using Iodine and Hydrogen Peroxide, and the team administered antibiotics (external antibiotics on the open injuries and an injection).

Thanks to the timely information and coordination from the different teams, Chebby was swiftly attended to. Just 45 minutes later, the lioness was up and gracefully moved towards the Mulika river to join her cubs.

A team of people carrying an injured lioness on a stretcher

A lioness and her cub

Follow-up was conducted by the lion monitoring on Tuesday, 5th September to try and locate Chebby, but although the team came across the rest of Bisanadi pride members, Chebby was not spotted on that occasion. We will continue to monitor Chebby’s progress as she recovers.