Michele and the children meet Shiloweni
Thank you so much for your continued support of our leopard, Shiloweni! We are so grateful for your interest and for all of your donations toward his care.
One of our biggest expenses that you so kindly contribute towards is Shiloweni’s annual check-up with the vet. This costs DAKTARI a total of R5194.50 (just over $500). Although expensive, the check-up is absolutely necessary to monitor Shiloweni’s overall health, especially his teeth, as this was the reason he was not coping well in the wild.
This year, the check-up took place at the end of September and it was an especially exciting time at DAKTARI as we had a French film crew visiting us to capture the whole affair. It was also a once-in-a-life-time opportunity for the children to get up close and personal with a leopard.
Before the check-up could begin, wildlife vet, Peter Rogers, took great care to dart Shiloweni with a tranquilizer. Once the leopard was fully under the anaesthetic, the children, volunteers and staff were able to come close to watch Peter and his team at work. Of course, we had assistants on hand in case Shiloweni unexpectedly came round from the anaesthetic.
To our delight, Peter found Shiloweni to be in superb condition, much better than he had anticipated. His teeth look excellent and his blood tests showed his organ function to be healthy. Shiloweni also received a flea/tick treatment to keep any nasty parasites at bay.
During the treatment, Peter covered the leopard’s face with a damp towel to prevent his eyes from drying out and to minimize any distress. After the check-up was complete, everyone had an opportunity to come close to Shiloweni and to stroke his fur. For the children particularly, this was a very special experience and one that they were all keen to tell their friends about.
Although Shiloweni was unable to survive in the wild, the outcome of his check-up gives us encouragement that DAKTARI was right to give him a second chance. Every child who visits us here is fascinated to be able to see a leopard so close and, in this way, Shiloweni really does a lot to alter the attitudes of local people towards these amazing animals.
Since my last report in September, we have had 5 more donations taking us a further $175 towards our goal. Not only will these funds go towards Shiloweni's vet fees, they allow us to provide him with a rich, meaty diet and also help us to maintain the electric fences around his camp, keeping him (and us!) safe. Although we are still a long way off of $6000, you guys are doing a fantastic job and I am confident that we can reach our target if we keep spreading the word!
As Christmas is fast approaching, don’t forget that you can make a donation towards Shiloweni’s care on behalf of someone else as a gift using this link. We also have 2 other fantastic gift options on GlobalGiving - to sponsor a child to visit DAKTARI or to make a special Christmas donation for one of our animals.
Supporters in France can look out for the upcoming documentary on DAKTARI, which will be aired on TF1. We have still not been given a date, so please keep an eye out for more information on our Facebook page.
Our next report will be due early in 2014. Until then, from all of us here at DAKTARI, we wish you a very happy holiday season and all the best for the New Year!
Wildlife vet, Peter, checks Shiloweni's teeth
Blood tests for organ function
Shiloweni's face is covered for comfort
Marketing volunteer, Amy, stroking the leopard