25 April 2007
They say that things happen in threes and following the predicted death of Royale, one of our tigers in India (after 10 years with Born Free) and the unexpected death of Djunka, our wonderful male lion rescued from that despicable French circus at the end of 2006, I have the very sad duty of reporting the death of Nalla, Djunka’s long-term partner.
I think we were all aware that Nalla had but a short time left to enjoy her new found freedom. Her condition at the circus last summer was poor and John Knight, our excellent vet, noticed that she was passing a little blood in her urine during the rescue itself. Subsequent blood tests showed that Nalla had serious kidney disease. Since November last year, she had responded to treatment including rehydration and she had a good appetite and had put on a little weight but the periods of remission between the administration of her treatment became shorter and shorter and last week she went off her food again. Shamwari’s veterinary team darted her last Sunday hoping that she would once again bounce back but she was lethargic and refused to eat. No-one wanted her to suffer and so, in consultation with One Voice and Born Free, together with John Knight, our vet, and the Shamwari veterinary team, the decision was made to put her to sleep. She was 16 years old.
Nalla will be buried next to her mate, Djunka, under the wide open skies of Shamwari and we can all be thankful that for a short time at least Africa was her home. It is always desperately sad when such a life comes to an end, particularly when so many of the previous years have been wasted, and it is always important to remember that the effects of an unnatural captive life in a circus beast wagon or a tiny zoo cage frequently means that an animal’s life expectancy is cut short.
Born Free has been rescuing big cats in need for many, many years. In all cases, however long they are with us, they can be guaranteed care, attention, respect and compassion. After all they have been through it’s the least they deserve. So it was for Nalla.
With all good wishes
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