How Lions 360 helps keep our lion pride happy and healthy

Monarto Zoo’s jaw-dropping new experience, Lions 360, has been open for less than a week and it’s already a roaring success!

While the experience provides visitors with an innovative prey’s-eye view into the world of one of Australia’s largest lion prides, Lions 360 is more than just an exciting experience for our visitors… it’s a mutually fascinating experience for our lions too!

Specifically designed with modern animal welfare science in mind, Lions 360 provides valuable enrichment for our feisty pride of lions.

Enrichment is an animal husbandry principle that makes sure animals’ environments are both challenging and stimulating, supporting positive mental wellbeing and encouraging natural behaviours.

This enrichment is just as essential to animal welfare as proper nutrition and veterinary care, and helps to ensure animals stay active and healthy.

Our keepers regularly rotate the lions on exhibit, presenting them with a bunch of new sights, smells and tastes left over from the previous individuals.

This form of enrichment mimics entering another lion’s territory in the wild and provides the animals with important sensory stimulation.

It encourages our lions to assess their environment and promotes natural species-typical behaviours like licking, rolling, scent marking, exploration and territory defense.

Territorial behaviours like patrolling, roaring and teeth-baring are all common ways in which African lions establish dominance and guard their territories in the wild. So while the pawing and growling during Lions 360 certainly makes for a hair-raising experience for visitors, it’s a completely healthy behaviour for our amazing lions.

Lions 360 is all about reversing the traditional zoo experience. It’s the visitors that are inside a cage, leaving our pride of lions free to roam their ten hectare (or 25 acre) habitat – one of the largest habitats in any zoo around the world!

The Lions 360 experience is predicated on choice, which means our pride of lions are the ones exercising control and choice over their environment. This gives them the final say on the level of interaction they have with visitors during the experience.

Even though we love it when our lions come and visit the dome to interact with humans, they definitely aren’t forced to do so! Even if there’s a tasty morsel of meat involved, our headstrong lions will be the first to let you know if they’ve had enough by moving away to relax in the shade of some nearby trees.

Our passionate keepers are 100% committed to looking after the animals that call Monarto Zoo home and there is no exception with Lions 360. The dome gives our keepers the chance to examine the lions from teeth to claws to ensure they’re in tip-top shape as well as undertake a range of training and conditioning.

For our keepers, this isn’t just a nine to five job, it’s their passion. Providing the best life possible for the lions that they have the privilege to look after is at the core of everything they do – and it’s at the core of Lions 360.

Don’t just take our word for it though, come and see for yourself! Book your spot here.

Lions 360 is fed to you by ElectraNet, South Australia’s electricity transmission network service provider. 

 

Congratulations to our Chief Executive Elaine Bensted on receiving the #telstrabizwomen 'for purpose and social enterprise' award tonight.

About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to save species from extinction and connect people with nature.

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