After many years of standing proud in the centre of the sanctuary, the Lion rock has finally collapsed. This structure was designed to recreate the natural African boulders or ‘Kopje’ that wild Lions seek as a focal point in their territory.
Finding a high vantage point is important for Lions as they will survey their territory on the lookout for the movement of prey or presence of competitors such as rival Lion prides, Leopards, or groups of Hyena or Painted Dogs. This gives them early warning if they need to begin the hunt, see off competitors, or hide their cubs.
Another important behavioural repertoire for these territorial big cats is to announce themselves as owners of their territory, warning off any potential intruders which may threaten their pride. They do this by getting into a high position and roaring. Lion roars have been recorded as loud as 114 decibels and can be heard from up to 10km away!
Having access to different levels and features is important in the Lions habitat, to give them choice and environmental enrichment, as an elevated position can encourage those natural behaviours.
The old rock was a solid formation, this time around we have the opportunity to rebuild it with an improved concept encompassing a cave and a more naturalistic design. This will add complexity and interest to the habitat, encouraging a greater range of behaviours whilst returning that all important vantage point.
This new rock will cost around £10,000 to build, to ensure our lions get the very best, which is no less than they deserve. So we are asking that all those lion lovers, webcam watchers and big cat enthusiasts help us to deliver this amazing new feature – an icon to stand proud in the centre of the sanctuary and put these mighty kings on top of their kingdom once again!
Please visit our Vigo and Kumba Just Giving Page to donate what you can.