Hello from a wet and cold Ethiopia!
Many people think Ethiopia is baking hot all year. In fact, different parts of the country have very different climates. Here in the capital of Addis Abeba, we are 2,400 metres (6,500 feet) above sea level. For the three month rainy season the weather is much like an autumn day in Europe.
A few months ago, Born Free was told about a lion that was being illegally kept as a tourist attraction in a small cage in the town of Dolo on the Ethiopian/ Somali border. For the first four years of his life, the ‘Dolo lion’ had been kept restrained on a chain just one metre long for 24 hours a day. The chain was biting into the lion’s neck and the photo below shows his dejected stance and poor condition.
The Wildlife Department asked the Born Free team to help and the lion was confiscated. However, because our new Wildlife rescue, Conservation and Education Centre has not yet been built, we had to quickly select a temporary home for the lion. The enclosure he is now in at the headquarters of the Awash National Park is by no means ideal, but is the only enclosure we can use until we can build a spacious new enclosure with trees and grass. (Lions that have been raised in captivity can never be released back into the wild because they have lost their fear of humans and can be more dangerous than wild lions that stay away from humans.)
Even after a few weeks on a proper diet and without that restricting chain the Dolo lion had a spring in his step. (see below).
The photo below shows the lion today. His mane is growing, but may never grow around his neck where the chain was.
If anyone wants to help pay for the care of this lion, he costs £10 (US$20) per day to keep.
And, if you’d like to help Born Free raise funds for the new Centre or would like to sponsor an animal please visit www.bornfree.org.uk.
More news in a few days,