This week we realized that it had been a whole year since the age of 10, Scooter arrived here at Safari Zoo, as Chevelle’s companion.
Scooter came to us from Knowsley Safari Park where the rest of his pride was greeted across the pond in France. The Lioness Chevelle had been living alone since the sad death of the beautiful Shikar in April 2019, she was late by a friend!
Although exciting, bringing in new residents can also come with concerns: how will they get along, how will they love each other! Add to that a 200kg lion and a lioness with some serious demeanor and we were all on hot coals, crossing everything these two would bring to each other.
The process of introducing big cats is not often smooth and requires a lot of planning and patience as the cats adjust to each other’s presence, we first let them get used to each other in their interior house where they were firmly separated. They took turns in their outdoor enclosure, giving them time to get used to the smell and the presence of each one before coming face to face in the enclosure! Some initial suspicion was quickly overcome and it didn’t take long for us to snap some adorable photos of the new homecoming king and queen!
African lions are now extinct in 26 African countries and live in only 5% of their historic range, a total remaining wild population is estimated at only 20,000 individuals spread across 28 African countries. Alarmingly, it is understood that only six protected areas are home to more than 1,000 lions, which means that the remaining populations are on the one hand sparse, on the other hand unprotected and third, insecure. The IUCN Red List does not currently recognize the Lion as being under immediate threat, however, in West Africa Lions are classified as Critically Endangered and we are on the verge of seeing them. Lions become endangered throughout their range very quickly.