A few minutes in which keepers tranquilise a lion until it awakes
A Moment with Lawrence the Lion
Ruth had noticed Lawrence limping on one foot.
She had kept an eye on him for a couple of days and had decided that she must bring the vet in to check the foot out.
They would probably have to dart Lawrence as they would not be able to get near him without doing so.
Ruth got the dart gun from the truck and loaded it ready until Rob came. Ah here he was. That was quick
She told Rob the story on Lawrence and they set to work
As she lifted the dart gun to her shoulder, she murmured a quiet "Sorry'
Her heart dropped as the lion jumped and whipped around to bite at the dart. Any hurt to her beloved animals touched her deeply.
Lawrence was a very proud lion and normally strolled around with his head in the air.
The leader of the pack indeed, but now, the dart was taking effect and he gradually gave in and crumpled to the ground. They, however, did not go to him for at least five minutes after his last movement because one swipe from a paw could lay your face open.
After waiting a good while Rob gingerly poked the lion and jumped back, his heart racing as a giant paw lifted then settled slowly down again.
'Do you think we've given him enough? We don't want him to wake up halfway through.'
'Yes I'm sure said Ruth. You forget I have been involved in many instances such as this'
'Oh?' asked Rob a bit doubtfully.
Their patient remaining absolutely still, Ruth, throwing a tarp down, and with Rob's help, rolled him over onto the tarp.
It took all of their strength to move him and knew they would need more help to get him onto the table for Rob to look at him.
Calling to some more keepers, they, with the extra help, managed to lift the great lion onto the table where Rob was able to examine him more closely.
At first he prodded cautiously. Still not entirely convinced that Lawrence was asleep, but, as not a stir resulted, he gained more courage to raise the flap of skin which had lifted from a large gash in the paw.
'Well mate how do you reckon that happened eh?'
Both Ruth and Rob were slightly puzzled as the whole environment had been especially designed with no sharp edges to harm the animals.
Putting that thought aside for the moment, they worked together to dress the wound and apply antiseptic cream to the gash before placing several stitches to hold the skin together.
'Right, said Rob. Just an injection of antibiotic now to be sure. Then back to his rock to sleep it off.'
As Rob bent to push the needle in to Lawrence's shoulder, the lion let out a roar. A weak one, but a roar.
'Quick, quick he's waking up. Grab the sides of the tarp and let's go before he's wide awake'.
Now it wasn't because Rob was a wuss, He had handled animals far bigger than this but none had huge paws with needle sharp talons and huge gaping mouths with meat shredding teeth. He was terrified.
With racing hearts and shaking knees they all grabbed an edge of the tarp and, moved much faster than one would have thought they could with such a load. They got him into his home territory.
Just as they put him down, he opened his eyes and then yawned, his gaping mouth full of threatening teeth. They were off! Forget the tarp they fought each other to get through the gate some almost climbing over others to get through.
The last one through shut the gate quickly, glancing behind to see if his pants were on fire.
'Geez thought he had us'.
With the gate safely shut, they looked back and there was Lawrence --, resting his head on his paws sleeping like his baby cub, -- and Ruth?
'Ruth!! What are you doing there.'?
'Thanks for helping a lady get out of danger guys! Not a thought for me, just for your own hides,' she said sternly, climbing lithely down from the tree.
A few heads dropped, red faces, eyes glanced at each other and all gave a wry grin.
'So what are you doing there any way Ruth?'
'Always wanted to pat him ever since he was a baby, thought this was a good time.'
They all walked away, knees still shaking, scoffing at each other, not one of them would forget their brief time close to Lawrence the lion