Lion pride watch over leader getting dental work

Mandela, Perth Zoo’s African lion kingA big veterinary team at Perth Zoo was needed to work on Mandela, Perth Zoo’s African lion king.

Mandela wasn’t showing any signs of pain, but during an annual check-up it was found he had some broken teeth and an infection. He had one tooth extracted, was given antibiotics for his abscess and will need a further extraction at a later date.

It took eight people to lift the 185kg pack leader, and Mandela was cared for by three veterinarians, two nurses and a dental veterinary consultant.

Mandela was watched over by his brother Nelson and lioness Shinyanga during the treatment, and Nelson provided back-up to Mandela in his role as leader.

Zookeeper Leonie Perovic said that Shinyanga was keeping an eye on the team working on Mandela. “She was definitely keeping an eye on us—they’re quite protective of their boss. They were wondering what we were up to but obviously it’s all in his best interests.”

Perovic said Nelson was fully aware Shinyanga was his brother’s girlfriend.

“So everybody’s happy.”

Mandela recovered in his night quarters under the watchful eyes of his keepers, before being reunited with his pride.

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