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Staff at West Midland Safari Park have thrown a big, ‘king-of-the-jungle-sized’ birthday party for their seven lion cubs, who are all celebrating their first birthday this year.
The youngsters, born on 27 August and 17 September 2019, have been a popular sight at the Worcestershire attraction over the last year and although are still referred to as ‘cubs’ by their team of keepers, they are more like adventurous teens.
To celebrate the occasion, keepers created a range of giant eye-catching, animal themed gift boxes, which were filled with tasty treats and placed inside the lion reserve. As soon as the cubs left their sleeping quarters, they were instantly drawn to the mysterious parcels and spent the morning feasting, playing and having a ‘roar-some’ time together. Even the adult lions couldn’t resist joining in the fun, rolling around with the cubs and showing age is just a number!
Kate Atkinson, Senior Carnivore Keeper, said, “All of the cubs have grown in confidence over the past year and it’s been great to observe them as they mature and develop. The cubs love to have fun destroying things, and all types enrichment – boxes, paper bags or even trees in the reserve – are regularly chewed and ripped apart as part of their play.
“The cubs all interact really well together, and we have been able to see their range of different personalities come out, which has been brilliant. For example, Hercules and Hunter are both very placid boys who really enjoy exploring and seeing what the keepers are up to, but then on the other hand we have Havoc, a playful soul that likes nothing more than fooling around with his older relatives and even trying to push the buttons of his Grandmother, Kayli. Our females are also flourishing, with Hira bringing the ‘sass’ to the pack and Natty showing her maternal side with her mother Scar.”
The two litters of cubs were born to ten-year-old female Scar (mother to Hunter, Hercules, and Hernatty) and seven-year-old female Amber (mother to Harabi, Hodge, Havoc and Hira), within three weeks of each other and are all half brothers and sisters.
The seven cubs, made up of five boys and two girls, were first introduced to visitors back in February and have had endless fun settling into their new home throughout the year. The male cubs can expect their distinctive manes to start to grow in when they reach the age of two, making them very easy for guests to recognise.
Over the coming year, guests will be able to see the cubs on Safari as they continue to grow and thrive as part of the park’s ‘fearsome’ African lion pride.