HERITAGE – teddy the lion

There is an old saying that Africa is Lion Country. Never a truer word spoken. Almost all the soldiers that completed the Initial cycle in the 70’s and 80’s would have spent time in the training base called Fort Doppies. This beautiful piece of bush was still lion country – literally and figuratively and the base Fort Doppies was very elementary bush bashers . Many students on course tell the tale of being attacked by lions and there were quite a few close escapes.

But most of the stories are about Teddy – our young male Lion. Teddy and his sister Lisa arrived in Doppies from Central SWA as young cubs. Dewald – the base Commander at the time received them as a gift and he and his wife Dot raised them. As if dogs they were not fenced in and Terry was often seen hitching a ride on the back of the short wheel based Land Rover. They could go where they wanted – which they did. They ended up as sort of free roaming “tame-ish” type of Lions. Lisa was mauled by a Wild Lioness on one of these outings and didn’t survive so Teddy was left to terrorise the unsuspecting student’s by himself. The stories about him are enough to fill a book.

As for the soldier’s – well somehow if you have trained and lived with a lion for week on end and he that goes on runs with you, swims with you, plays soccer with you, then the bush doesn’t seem that imposing anymore. Truth is after this the respect you learn for all things living just gets that much more.



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