The lion prides across South Australia had a paw-some time celebrating World Lion Day today.
Adelaide Zoo locals, Mujambi and Amani, enjoyed tearing apart enrichment boxes created by the BEEZA (Behavioural Environmental Enrichment for Zoo Animals) volunteer group.
At Monarto Safari Park, the lioness pride enjoyed a treasure hunt for hidden meat amongst enrichment balls.
It might look like just fun and games, but Monarto Safari Park Carnivore Keeper Christy Tonkin says enrichment is hugely important for the lions’ mental stimulation and to express natural behaviours that they would display in the wild. It’s all part of how we provide tip top care to the animals at both Zoos SA sites.
“We make every day different in some way to keep the lions’ stimulated. The paper mache ball enrichment they enjoyed today encourages them to play and use their natural hunting skills.
“Scent enrichment is also a hit with our lions and we’ll often use poo and branches taken from the giraffe and rhino habitats to give them new interesting scents.
“Caring for the lions is very special, but I really love watching how the pride interact with each other and how they resolve altercations amongst the group.”
Twelve lions call Monarto Safari Park home, making it one of the largest prides in Australia. It’s growing, with more cubs on the way! Pregnant lionesses Makena and Husani are both doing really well and getting hungrier as their cubs on board grow.
“This will be Makena’s first litter and she’s due any day now. She’s still very active and getting around the exhibit as if she’s not pregnant.
“Husani is a seasoned mum and this will be her third pregnancy, with four cubs in her first litter and five in her second, we’re excited to see how many cubs she gives birth to this month.
“Makena and Husani are spending a lot of time together and it’s nice to see them bonding over the pregnancies,” finished Christy.
African Lions are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the IUCN Red List and with less than 20,000 lions left in the wild, each cub is incredibly important for the conservation of the species. If their situation in the wild doesn’t change, it’s predicted African Lions could be extinct in the wild by 2050.
Zoos SA supports these big cats in partnership with the Zambian Carnivore Program, which undertakes amazing work in conservation research, habitat restoration and education.
As a conservation charity, each time you visit your favourite animal at Monarto Safari Park, purchases a membership or gift from the Zoo Shop, you are helping to save incredible animals for future generations.
Find out more about our lion pride on the African Lions page.