The Asiatic lion pride at ZSL London Zoo had something huge to celebrate on World Lion Day this year (Thursday 10 August): a giant Earth commemorating three years of support from specialist fund management group Liontrust.
The metre-wide boomer ball, specially designed for large, strong, animals to play with, was painted with the world’s continents and oceans in blue and green, and scented with the pride’s favourite aromatic herbs and spices for the feline festivities.
Zookeeper Lucy Reed said: “Scenting the ball encourages our pride to use their incredible sense of smell to track it through their territory, as they would with prey, before using their sharp claws to tear into it – acting as a natural manicure for our lionesses.
“As an international conservation charity, our work extends far beyond the boundaries of ZSL London Zoo. The pride of Asiatic lions, and indeed their home at Land of the Lions, are ambassadors for the work we’re supporting in the Gir Forest, Gujarat, India - the Asiatic lions’ last remaining stronghold, where just 500 remain.
“We’re grateful to be celebrating three years with Liontrust on World Lion Day. Their support has helped us to build a magnificent new home for our big cats, and supports our ongoing work in the Gir National Park.”
The painted globe was a gift for lionesses Heidi, Indi and Rubi from Liontrust, whose support not only helped ZSL to build the pride’s new Land of the Lions home but enables the charity to carry out its vital conservation work with the Critically-Endangered species in India.