The lion family spends nearly every day together on exhibit. It is wonderful to see the full pride of six. Tajiri and the cubs initiate most interaction with one another and with Makini. Makini occasionally plays, but he is usually looking for a patch of sun where he can just curl up to watch them.
The lions enjoy temperatures over 50 degrees, but they will have access to the yard in most weather this winter. The cubs have not experienced snow as of yet, but they do not seem bothered by rain, so they are likely to explore snow. Makini, however, is not always a fan of wet weather, and he does come inside earlier each day, so there may be periods when Tajiri and the cubs are outside without dad.
Into the new year, the cubs will have an opportunity to begin exploring a different yard, and as they grow, they will also be given access to Zoo360 Big Cat Crossing. Seeing the yards, guests and other cats from the raised tunnels will be a different experience from what most cubs have the opportunity to do. For guests, it will be amazing to see five or six lions over your head at one time!
In Africa, lions are truly in danger of losing safe spaces to live, enough food to eat, and in fact their very lives. Current statistics document that up to 80 percent of lions have been lost in their historic range. It is believed that there are now 28 countries, primarily in south and western Africa, where lions can be found. Only seven of those countries are thought to contain more than a 1,000 individuals each.
All big cats are in need of our help. The Zoo continues to support researchers working on projects in range countries to better understand the needs of these cats that we are so dedicated to protecting.
Please explore the Zoo’s web site and social media channels to continue to hear about how you can support our efforts on the behalf of big cats. And we will see you at the Zoo!
By Kay Buffamonte, KeyBank Big Cat Falls Lead Keeper