AGE: (2018) 11 years
WEIGHT: (2013) 169Kg (2014) 185Kg (2015) 181.2Kg (2016) 180.1Kg
ORIGIN: Northern Namibia, bordering Etosha National Park.
COMPANIONS IN ENCLOSURE: Shenzi
REASON FOR CAPTIVITY: Captive reared, habituated and now too old for release.
Shavula is one of our lions at AfriCat's Carnivore Care Centre.
SHAVULA means rain in Swahili, and was born in the wild, but his mother was killed. He was approximately 6 months old when he was caught in a cage trap on a cattle farm, along the borders of the Etosha National Park. SHAVULA’S mother was poisoned when she left the Etosha National Park in search of easy prey on a neighbouring farm.
SHAVULA was trapped by a farmer who felt compassion for this cub. The farm-owners called AfriCat North and on 10 November 2007, SHAVULA was transported to the Foundation’s Lion Sanctuary. He had a few injuries due to the cage-trap, but was in a good condition.
SHAVULA was brought to AfriCat with 3 siblings, (Thimba, Shani - meaning 'adventurous' and Sarana, meaning 'beautiful'). In February 2009, the 4 siblings were introduced to a younger male cub, who was also found on farmland adjacent to the Etosha, called Shenzi. This pride of 5 young lions lived in 50 hectares of African savannah. Sadly both Shani and Sarana died in 2011. We suspect Shani contracted anthrax and Sarana indirectly died of snake-bite that effected her heart stopped during an annual health-check?
The Etosha Park boundary fences are porous and when lions leave this protected area to prey on livestock, angry farmers destroy them, unknowingly leaving cubs to fend for themselves. In most cases, the cubs do not survive. Large numbers of lions are destroyed on surrounding farmland annually. AFRICAT advises farmers on how to improve their livestock protection methods, thereby reducing losses to predators.
Then the decision to close the AfriCat North Lion Sanctuary on Farm Kaross came when the farm was sold at the end of 2012. AfriCat North’s new base is close-by and with the ever-increasing pressures to find workable solutions to the farmer-predator conflict, to escalate our lion research and monitoring programmes as well as to continue with our Environmental Education outreach in Namibia’s communal conservancies, it was decided that our 4 lions (Kilimanjaro, Shavula, Shenzi & Thimba) would join the other 'ambassadors' at the AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre in the Okonjima Nature Reserve.
On the 26th of January 2013 and as the intense heat gradually subsided close to sunset, the mammoth task of preparing the 4 lions and one leopard for their long trip to their new home at AfriCat HQ, began. Once Shenzi was sedated, we moved our team closer to the boys, Shavula & Thimba. At this point, with no natural light and the fact that spotlights would have created extreme stress, we abandoned the plan to immobilise the brothers that night; we could have attempted their immobilisation but we did not wish to risk their safety and health.
27 January - Sleep for the Team was short-lived as a quick decision was made, once Kilimanjaro and Shenzi were safely delivered to AfriCat HQ that the final trip with Shavula & Thimba will commence the same day. After a brief breakfast, we were back on the road to AfriCat North, arriving at 16h00; by 18h00, with coffee-to-go (all in need of caffeine!) & sandwiches, we set out to find Shavula & Thimba. Needless to say, with plenty of daylight as well as a welcome shower of rain, Dr Jago successfully immobilised the brothers and we were ready for our return trip by 20h00. With only two pick-ups, each carrying one lion, we made good time, arriving at AfriCat HQ by 01h00am. The brothers have settled in well and will join the other carnivore ambassadors AfriCat’s Care Centre – teaching children about the lion and reminding them that we need to fight for the survival of our African King.