Grown Lions Are Just Like Kittens and This Video Proves It
If you’re a cat owner, you’re likely to know that your Mr. Snugglepuss – for all his seeming disdain and aloofness for the wide world – really is just a larger version of his adorable, kitten self. He still inexplicably runs out of the living room, attacks errant specs on the floor like a malfunctioning robot, and gets himself into curious predicaments atop every lone shelf in your home. And when it comes to Mr. Snugglepuss’s wild brethren – bobcats, tigers, lions and more – these un-tame large cats aren’t all that dissimilar from your house cat. For proof, behold this video out of the Oregon Zoo.
In a new video uploaded to YouTube, keepers at the Predators of the Serengeti exhibit created a new toy for their six African lions. The toy is highly reminiscent of the same toys cat owners keep in their home, that same one that Mr. Snugglepuss just can’t get enough of. Watch: While it all looks like fun and games, the purpose of the rope is “enrichment… helping to keep the African lions fit while bringing out their explosive predatory instincts.” The zoo also says the game “mentally stimulates the big cats while encouraging natural hunting behaviors.” While some might immediately think the lovely cats wouldn’t need this game if they weren’t in captivity, Beth Foster, lead keeper at the Oregon Zoo, reminds viewers that lion populations face a grave danger in the wild from not only poachers, but simple farmers who try to protect their livestock from lions’ predation on farm animals. “Conflict with humans is the main threat to lions right now. Poachers, illegal hunting, and then farmers killing the lions because the lions come in and eat their livestock,” Foster says as she warns of the decreasing wild cat populations across the world amid conservation efforts. So while the situation outside is indeed serious, we can still enjoy these big cats – or should we say big kittens – as conservation efforts continue across the world. For more, check out these lion cubs playing with their dad at the zoo. (h/t Tastefully Offensive)
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