It was a case of Happy Birthday to you, you and you as keepers and visitors to Monarto Safari Park celebrated the first birthday of African Lion cubs Malkia, Ruka and Chad.
The mini big cats, born on the 24 January 2022, were treated to a host of tasty and fun enrichment.
Senior Keeper of Carnivores, Rachel Hemming, said that the trio were “full of the energy at all times, just like typical toddlers.”
“The cubs are incredibly lively and love to play. They still hang around with mum but now that they’re 12 months old they’re starting to become independent and roam away with confidence.
“Malkia is a bold and clever cat and the ultimate mischief maker. She runs rings around her brothers.
“Ruka is playful and food motivated. He’s very interactive with all the pride in the Lions 360 dome. Meanwhile Chad is a different kettle of cat. He’s Mr Laid Back. He does life in the slow and is the last one out into the habitat in the morning and the last one back at night!
“The boys are growing their manes and they are looking pretty shaggy around their necks and heads,” finished Rachel.
Time flies when you’re an African Lion cub with 11 hectares of open range habitat to explore. Each day the cubs, their mum Husani and aunts Nia and Makena, older siblings Zahara, Adira and Chikondi and males Kashka, Kubwa and Kito venture into the habitat and often take part in the Lions 360 experience.
The lion cubs were named by staff at ElectraNet, Nova and the conservation-loving public.
Lions 360 is one of Monarto Safari Park’s most popular experiences where visitors get up close to the big cats by taking the walk of the brave into a giant dome area.
As a conservation and non-profit charity, the funds raised at Monarto Safari Park from taking part in Lions 360 help to support on ground conservation work in Africa undertaken by the Zambian Carnivore Programme.
Recently the Zambian Carnivore Programme stated that “lions may disappear from the wild by 2050 if urgent conservation work is not done. Losing an apex predator such as the lion would have devastating consequences for ecosystems and communities that rely on wildlife-based economies.”
Last year the Zambian Carnivore Programme team checked over 7,500 snares and de-snared seven large carnivores, spent over 4,000 days in the field, covered 37,000km2 and supported Zambian students to undertake undergraduate, graduate degrees in wildlife conservation and funded female trainees in conservation, biology and veterinary training.
Like lion numbers, habitat for lions has declined as human population, land cultivation and numbers of livestock have steadily increased in areas lions call home. Lions are often killed to protect livestock or as retaliation kills for livestock loss.
Malkia, Ruka and Chad along with the rest of the pride are the perfect ambassadors for the species. They help to educate the public about the plight of lions and how we can help to protect them and ensure their roars are heard in the wild.
ElectraNet is the Major Sponsor of Lions 360.
For more information about Lions 360, fed to you by ElectraNet, adopting a lion and Zoos SA’s conservation work, please head to www.monartosafari.com.au