One of our male
lions, Malik, has gained media attention around the world after the clip below
Three year old Sofia experienced a pretty
close encounter through the glass at the viewing cave, which allows visitors a
glimpse into just a portion of the lion’s exhibit.
is normal for a lion - they do tend to get very protective of their food which
is why we feed our five lions separately from each other. The way Malik reacted to Sofia is a healthy reaction that lions in the
wild would display. He was not
displaying overt aggression towards Sophia – he was ‘politely’ telling her to
go away. Luckily, we have a really
lovely large exhibit for them, so rest assured that if Malik didn't want to be
near the visitors, he could easily take his food somewhere else. There are
areas where the lions can go to be out of the view of visitors if they
Lions in the wild (and at the Zoo) typically sleep for a large portion
of the day, as all cats do, and can often be seen lying on the rocks in their
exhibit looking out over Newtown. Our zoo keepers place a strong emphasis on
enriching the lives of all animals here at the Zoo, through various mental and
physical stimuli. Lions are social creatures, so they gain a lot of enrichment
opportunities from visitor and keeper interaction. Keepers also provide food enrichment, which
involves making their food difficult to access, so that the lions have to seek
it out as they would in the wild.
We also train our lions in preparation for medical procedures and for
general health checks which stimulates their brain and builds rapport with
their keepers. This training makes caring for them so much easier and less
stressful for the animals, our vets and for the keepers.
Pictures of our lion exhibit can be found here.