A lion cub fondly known as "Mugie" has died in the Kora National Park on Sunday. The cub was in a rehabilitation program run by Tony Fitzjohn.
Mugie was found in early November in a 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 mother would return to her cub, they eventually reached the decision to try and save the cub and took him into care.
Mugie thrived at Ol Jogi and by early January 2012 he weighed 13.5kgs. The choice to rehabilitate Mugie was made by the Kenya Wildlife Service, the George Adamson Wildlife Trust and Ol Jogi Ranch.
Set up in Kora National Park in collaboration with KWS, the program is designed to rehabilitate orphaned lions back into the wild. Unfortunately for Mugie, a confrontation with eight hyenas cut short the dream of rehabilitating another lion successfully. Famous lions like Elsa and Christian, went down in history for being successfully rehabilitated despite scientists speaking against the trials.
"Born Free", a two-time Oscar winning film was inspired by the success story of Elsa the lioness. Kora remains open as a last hope for lions ill-fated to being orphaned in considering Kenya remains one of the last strongholds of lion population.
There are less than 2,000 lions left in Kenya today, and rehabilitating any orphans back into the wild remains critical to their continued survival.