CACHSpain representatives CJ and Luis Munoz report:
Ever since we picked up the cubs in Alicante, it has been full time with them and staying closely on top of their well being. Let me see if I can explain quickly a little about what has been going on.
When we miraculously found our cubs at the Raul Merida Sanctuary in Alicante, the first thing that we noticed was that the cubs were small for their age. They did not look like three month old lion cubs, especially little Spain, and we knew immediately it was because of their diet. The abusive owner had been denying the cubs everything that they needed to grow strong bones and get bigger. She was keeping them as small as she could to continue exploiting them for profit.
Their little eyes were hollow. They had had no love at all and they just clung to each other in desperation for a sense of safety and comfort. In Alicante, Raul, (who has been in the business of saving wildlife for years), had started them on a proper diet and they were getting, for the first time in their lives, concern and solutions for their physical needs and kindness and love for their emotional needs. Raul has his own veterinarian who examined the cubs, took blood, and basic tests. His vet did not however, get into any other extensive testing as he felt the two cubs would grow and improve on a proper diet.
When we got the cubs to Madrid, we were met by a very young, but very bright, recently graduated veterinarian that Raul had recommended and that he called to help us. Her name is Irene Manso and she is very eager and sweet. Even more fortunate for us was finding Dr. Debra McCauley - a very experienced wildlife veterinarian with an amazing education and background.
She now lives in Madrid and travels to different places around the world working with wildlife. Irene´s sister studied with Debra and that´s why they know each other. It was Irene who brought her to this new center and Debra was very interested to join us as this kind of case really attracted her.
Dr McCauley took one look at the cubs and immediately went into action. She ordered a number of tests, including x-rays. These tests, with the exception of some that need to be done yet, (like TB), have all come back and we have talked extensively about the results. Both cubs have metabolic bone disease. DON´T PANIC because Debra feels that with the even BETTER diet that she has them on, that they will recover. Cach has a few other problems to sort out but Debra is monitoring his intake of minerals and vitamins to balance bodily functions properly and she feels confident that we will get that sorted out too.
Little Spain is almost half the size of his brother due to severe stress and depression and, of course, a terrible diet. He most likely stopped eating at some period and could have been exploited more than his brother because of his smallness. Debra feels she can get him up to par as well. Spain had a hole in his left back foot above the paw which was very infected from walking on poor surfaces. This infection is being treated with an antibiotic and is bandaged to keep bacteria out and he has a collar around his head to keep him away from the wound. HE IS NOT AT ALL happy about that and his brother is worried about him. He really keeps close to his brother at all times.
We will take more blood tomorrow to see if Spain´s white cell count is better now that he has been on antibiotics
The cubs will get all the love they need at this time of stress and recovery at the Centre as they wait to relocate to South Africa. The Centre's employees stay up late at night feeding the cubs and giving them their medicine and at other times as well when Luis and I cannot be there. They clean their installations and fuss over them constantly. They all treat these stressed little cubs with such love and concern.
As we get more news on the cubs’ health and treatment we will let you know.
Thank you to all who have donated towards helping us bring the cubs home to South Africa. We have along way to go and need your help. Please use our donate button on our website to donate funds which will be used for the cubs medical needs and to relocate them to South Africa.