Rhinos, lions, lemurs and goats woke up to a festive surprise today (Monday 9 December), as keepers celebrated Christmas with the animals at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
The Zoo’s African lions Saturn, Max, Toto, Kia and Neo discovered that keepers had decked out the pride’s Serengeti-inspired home with brightly coloured, hessian ‘Santa stockings’ - filled with their favourite meaty treats.
Keepers wrapped a giant 8ft box for southern white rhinos Nsiswa, Clara, Mikumi, Tuli and Bertha to trample all over in their paddock – the largest gift they’ve ever received – while the Zoo’s mischievous troop of ring-tailed lemurs found a new climbing frame in their In with the Lemurs home, in the form of an oversized advent calendar with veg-filled windows.
The Zoo’s pygmy goats also got a surprise early Christmas present – a new climbing frame wrapped in a giant red bow.
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer, Owen Craft, said: “At this festive time of year, it’s joyful to be able to share some of the fun of the season with the incredible animals we look after all year.
“Our rhinos loved charging at their giant Christmas box, while our lions used their powerful sense of smell to search for their meaty treats among the hessian stockings.
“ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is the perfect place for a magical day out this Christmas – visitors can meet the reindeers and earn their Christmas lunch with a jolly stroll around the UK largest zoo.”
Open every day except for Christmas Day itself, those looking for a way to walk off the turkey and Christmas pudding can visit the lions, rhinos and lemurs and many more animals on Boxing Day.