Home' LOTL : Jan 14 Contents Parents Massai and Tanza
Sleeping on the job
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The Lion Princess of
Lotl Rescue “Zambi"
Our adorable African lion cub "Zambi" was
born at 8.15am on Friday 13th September
Daughter of Massai and Tanza (pictured),
she came into the world weighing a mere 900
Now, at just over 3 1/2 months of age, she is
already 16 kilos and growing fast. As an adult,
she will weigh up to 170 kilos, the equivalent
to over 30 domestic house cats.
Generally, a lioness will give birth to between
2-4 cubs after a gestation period of 100-110
days. Zambi was born on day 106 and was an
Tanza, being a first-time mother, put all her
affection into her one little cub, and unfortu-
nately over groomed her.
Excessive grooming in cats, also known as
psychogenic alopecia, occurs when normal
licking activity becomes obsessive. This can
cause skin wounds and ulcerations.
Unfortunately, because Tanza didn't have oth-
er cubs to share her loving licks with, Zambi's
sensitive baby skin just did not cope with
the rough tongue of her mother. A big cat's
tongue feels like sandpaper – the tongue’s sur-
face is covered in barbs called papillae. They
use their coarse tongues to strip the meat from
bones and also for grooming. If a big cat licks
you in the same spot for too long, the tongue
will start to strip your skin away. When we
noticed the redness on Zambi’s belly, we start-
ed to monitor her more closely.
Tanza started to carry her one-week-old cub
back and forth at the den exit that led into the
enclosure where the male lion was. This was
unusual, as a lioness would want to keep her
new baby away from others at this early age.
On day 9, we made the decision to remove
Zambi from her mother and care for her
ourselves. Zambi had developed a serious
skin wound. We immediately knew our deci-
sion was the right one. Tanza did not seem
distressed to lose her baby and was happy to
return to the company of the male, Massai.
It’s a full time job, as any mother would know,
giving the best care to a new baby (especially
a lion!). Apart from making bottles of formula
every few hours, they also need to be toileted.
This job is usually done by mum with that
rough tongue. So we decided to delegate this
to our matriarch dog Sabi, who’d previously
had babies of her own. It was the best decision.
Sabi took on Zambi as one of her own and
saved us a lot of unpleasantries! This success-
ful introduction led to our next truly valuable
Lions are the only true social cats and live in
a family structure called a pride. Luckily, the
sanctuary is also home to a pack of 17 very well
-behaved and loving dogs, so when Zambi was
big enough to handle a bit of rough and tum-
ble, she was introduced to them one at a time.
Today, Zambi really enjoys her family (pride!)
of humans and dogs and is totally exhausted
by the end of each day from continual fun.
Our little lion still sleeps each night in bed
next to her human family and luckily for us,
she sleeps the whole night through!
Zambi is now our educational ambassador
and the princess (Diva) of the sanctuary. She
has been helping with our fundraising and
having lots of cuddles and fun during our lion
cub encounters. Zambi is one very special and
amazing animal. We are blessed and honoured
to have Zambi in our lives and will continue
to meet all her lion needs.
16 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
Lifestyle | Rescue
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