In early November 2011 an orphaned lion cub was discovered marooned on a small island in the river bed below the Mugie Ranch dam in Laikipia West, which had been in flood for many days caused by heavy rains.
Whilst the team at the Ranch waited to see whether the water levels would subside, allowing the absent mother to hopefully reappear and claim her cub, they made the decision to wade into the river and offer pieces of meat to him in the hope that he could survive until the mother returned to his pleading calls. Yet on closer inspection, the team realised just how young the cub was and knew immediately he couldn’t survive much longer, believing him to be only around 3 months old. So the difficult decision was made to capture him and bring him into the headquarters.
The little orphaned lion cub, who was frightened and scrawny after his harrowing ordeal, was soon named ‘Mugie’ by the team and it was decided to contact the management of Ol Jogi Ranch in Laikipia, who have the experience and necessary resources to rear a young lion.
Ol Jogi immediately agreed to take on the responsibility of Mugie and within hours a plane arrived to relocate him to a safe enclosure where he would receive all the medical attention and care he needed.
Mugie Ranch’s volunteer vet, Caroline Richard, was chosen to follow Mugie to Ol Jogi and care for him during his most fragile weeks, providing him with the company and attention needed to keep him fit and strong.
Mugie thrived at Ol Jogi and by early January 2012 he weighed a hefty 13.5kgs. On daily walks throughout the Ranch, Mugie enjoyed as wild an upbringing as possible, meeting a variety of wild and tame animals, learning the tricks of the bush and playing endlessly.
On a diet of milk and meat, including cow, buffalo, guinea fowl and hyrax, Mugie’s condition grew to beat that of any other lion cub in Kenya.
On the 4th May 2012, nearly six months after Mugie’s fateful rescue near the Mugie dam, Tony Fitzjohn, renowned conservationist and lion rehabilitation expert, arrived at Ol Jogi and collected Mugie for the next phase of his journey back into the wild.
The choice to rehabilitate Mugie into Kora National Park, located 125km east of Mount Kenya, was made carefully by the Kenya Wildlife Service, the George Adamson Wildlife Trust and Ol Jogi Ranch. Mugie is embarking on this exciting adventure following in the footsteps of famous lions, such as Elsa and Christian, who were rehabilitated back into the wild by the legendary George Adamson before his untimely death in 1989.
Tony Fitzjohn, George Adamson’s illustrious apprentice, is spearheading the George Adamson Wildlife Trust and establishing Kora once again as a dedicated lion rehabilitation initiative, where Mugie will be given the attention and space that he needs and deserves, and ultimately the chance to live wild and free.
We hope to update you soon on Mugie’s progress from the team at Kora.