(“A patient just left, and we were about to tell each other a lie or two.”)
For the next fifteen minutes, or so, Dr. Jacob Longo gave us a concise lesson in lion sedation. Both Miles and I have a pretty good idea as to how to go about this capture, but with the danger we are about to face (a triple threat), we need to get the best advice. We have to be accurate with sedation levels and use proper capture equipment. In previous big five captures, for sedation we have used a combination of the drugs ketamine and xylazine. The large male would require a dart syringe large enough to hold 5cc. That is a big, big dart. The larger the dart, the closer you have to be, because you sacrifice distance and accuracy. The darts are fired from a 32 gauge rifle. Jacob suggests we use the drug “zoletil”. This drug is more soluble in the blood stream which translates into a smaller dosage. The average size of a male lion is from 330 to over 500 lbs. From the stories we’ve heard the male simba we are after should be at the upper scale, about 500 lbs.