The staff and volunteers at Moholoholo are used to receiving urgent phone calls, asking them to come and take in injured or orphaned animals. The two latest arrivals are Luma the spotted hyena and a very sick little leopard cub.
Just a few days ago a rather surprised person living in a town called Phalaborwa discovered a hissing, spitting leopard huddled next to an old engine in his garden. As the vet was close by he was summoned to assist with the situation. Rushing over to investigate more closely the vet soon recognised that this was a leopard cub which was in a terrible state. Being unable to fend for itself and obviously lacking a mother, this little cub was forced to seek easy food which could be found in residential areas. However anything he found would not be enough for him to survive on as at his age he still required the nutrients and goodness that could only be acquired from his mother’s milk. As one could not approach this fearful little fur ball directly without causing large amounts of stress to the animal or being injured oneself, the leopard cub had to be darted before the vet could extract it from its secure hiding place. Once the cub was safely sedated, Moholoholo staff came to pick him up to bring him to the centre for much needed care. On arrival the sight was shocking! The poor thing was emaciated and seemed to be teetering on the edge of its life. Perhaps from some form of struggle 2 of its front teeth were broken off and its toe pads were raw. Immediately it was hooked up to a drip so that it could be given fluids. Sadly it is likely that his mother had been caught in a snare or trap leaving him all alone. As the days have gone by he has hung in there and is clawing his way closer to survival. Eating daily and growing more vocal he will soon be ready to be put outside into the enclosure that is being constructed especially for him and we hope that with the help from the Moholoholo staff and volunteers he will make a full recovery!
Luma the Hyena is fortunately already much stronger than the little leopard cub. Luma was brought to Moholoholo only a few days old. We’re not sure yet if Luma is a boy or girl – baby hyenas are shy that way! Luma is also bashful around too much commotion. As big and brave as hyenas seem when they are adults they are skittish and nervous when they are small. When caught by surprise you will catch a glimpse of a black streak dashing for cover giggling and chittering nervously. Once there Luma will edge back and forth trying to gather the courage to come out and investigate what you are all about. During the day Luma spends his days up at the top section of the rehabilitation centre, using the office as his base. When he is tired, his bed is hidden under a desk with a hidey hole box to creep into when he is not feeling very brave. In between naps he lopes around the office or rough and tumbles with Mitzy, the resident Maltese poodle. Hyena proofing the Moholoholo office was a task on its own but soon sneaky passages to behind the desks were boarded up, chewable items placed out of reach and dark cosy corners in filing cupboards declared out of bounds! Adventures down the path and into the open garages seem to become more attractive but at 2 ½ months old Luma never ventures very far from the safety of his hiding place. Nonetheless, he is likely to steal plenty of volunteer hearts on his dashes around Moholoholo.