Curator Report: Lion Cub Update
Masamba and Mandisa are approaching their 3rd month of life and are becoming much more independent. Previously, the Animal Hospital had provided the perfect spot for visitors to get a good look at the cubs. During the first week of October, however, the cubs finally outgrew the nursery! Almost overnight, the young lions became more rambunctious and less willing to take long naps. As they are still too small to safely join the adult lions (who they continue to visit on a daily basis), they are now living in the former Sandhill Crane exhibit (past the llamas, across from the otters) where they can wrestle and play to their hearts content. The satisfaction of seeing well adjusted young lions happy to entertain themselves far outweighs the twinge of nostalgia for their more “cuddly” days!
Although the cubs are now eating the raw ground meat diet that all of our big cats are fed, they still get a bottle in the middle of the day. They no longer insist on a bedtime bottle but Masamba, in particular, really seems to appreciate the soothing effects of a bottle before his afternoon nap. Mother lions typically nurse their babies long after they have begun eating solid food. Nursing not only provides nourishment but is also important for reinforcing a sense of security and safety for the cubs.
The cubs have also taken up a new hobby – painting! It is an extremely messy endeavor but the results are impressive! Their creative artwork raised $1,000 at a recent auction.
Other Zoo News
A pair of Pronghorn from the Great Plains Zoo in South Dakota arrived in late September thanks to a generous donation from the Watermolen Foundation. Sundance and Medora will join the elk and bison in our Prairie Grasslands exhibit as soon as their quarantine period has been completed.
We are expecting the arrival of both a cougar and a snow leopard in the near future. Stay tuned for details!