Important components of this specialised and intensive care are nutrition, enrichment, training and medical checks.
The big cats at FELIDA are fed with an average of 35 kilo of meat with bones per animal per week (which is about 25 kilo meat per animal per week excluding bone). Food includes bone, skin, hair and certain organs. It mainly comes from horses and cows that were not suitable for human consumption. The feeding schedule is adapted to the natural eating habits of the animals in the wild, where they do not catch prey every day and therefore do not eat on a daily basis. At FELIDA, the animals are fed on 21 days per month, in varying schemes.
Enrichment is an important tool to promote the natural behaviour of big cats in captivity. Using nutrition, scents and environmental enrichment, we stimulate the animals to play and explore their habitat and new objects. The presentation of new items and smells helps to prevent boredom and improves the overall well-being of the animals. In addition, it gives the traumatised animals more self-confidence which is a very important part of helping them deal with their traumas.
The big cats are trained with the 'positive reinforcement' principle. There are several goals for this training:
- Building trust between animal and animal caretaker;
- Stimulating self-confidence and natural behaviours;
- Preparations for transports;
- Supporting medical procedures.
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The health of the animals in our sanctuary is monitored on a daily basis by our animal caretakers. Among other things, they observe their physical condition and whether an animal behaves differently - if needed, a veterinarian is consulted. FELIDA cooperates with special wildlife veterinarians from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife (IZW) in Berlin as also with specialists from the University of Utrecht and other Dutch clinics such as AniCura de Tweede Lijn in Wilhelminaoord. As soon as an animal has to be put under anaesthesia for examination, standard procedures include teeth and claws checks.
Vet check of tigress Dehli in 2019