This World Lion Day, we’re calling on the lion-lovers to help give the feisty felines a better future.
Lions are a firm favourite animal for many Zoo visitors and wildlife enthusiasts, but unfortunately populations in the wild are in strife.
To raise awareness for the species, Perth Zoo’s lioness sisters, Makeba and Uzuri, were treated to special enrichment boxes with a meaty treat inside.
Perth Zoo carnivore keeper, Alex Bateman, said: “Lions are an incredibly popular animal among our visitors, so it’s exciting to celebrate Makeba and Uzuri today and provide them some extra enrichment.
“They’ve each been given a puzzle box to rip into for a tasty surprise inside.”
While Makeba and Uzuri have a safe habitat with plenty of food and enrichment, World Lion Day is a good reminder that life in the wild is a lot tougher.
Sitting at the top of the food chain, the mighty African Lion has no natural predators in the animal kingdom, yet populations are steadily declining.
The single biggest threat to these majestic big cats is human impact through habitat destruction, human wildlife conflict and illegal poaching.
“Lion populations have unfortunately declined by about 50 percent over the last 20 years,” Alex said.
“It’s estimated there are only around 20,000 individuals left in their native sub-Saharan habitats in Africa.”
Humans may be the biggest threat to lions, but we are also the solution.
You can help put an end to the illegal wildlife trade by avoiding tourism operators that offer up photo opportunities with lions or cubs.
“World Lion Day is an important time to raise awareness for this incredible species, and a good reminder to only choose wild safaris and national parks over facilities that offer petting of lion cubs when you’re travelling abroad,” Alex said.
- Makeba and Uzuri act as important ambassador animals, helping to educate visitors on the plight of their wild cousins.
- The sisters arrived at Perth Zoo in 2018 as part of the coordinated program working to save the species from extinction.
- African Lions are found throughout central and southern Africa, but sadly there are less than 20,000 estimated remaining in the wild.
- Wild populations are reducing at an alarming rate due to human impact; the biggest threats facing lions are poaching, habitat loss and disease.