It’s been three months since our lion trio arrived, and we still can’t get enough of watching them gracefully nap, paw at enrichments and wander about their habitat. We aren’t lion – Chobe, Karoo and Ruaha are settling in well!
“The boys are showing lots of natural lion behaviors like head rubbing, vocalizing and grooming,” said Nikki Perry, the Zoo’s Africa Barn Supervisor. “Seeing animals display natural behaviors is always a great sign that an animal is thriving.”
If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing our trio in person, you may have caught them snoozing! “Napping is a favorite activity of theirs,” said Nikki. Chobe, Karoo and Ruaha also enjoy receiving ice treats, scratching on tree stumps and playing with some of their favorite enrichment items: a very large enrichment ball and a giant wobble toy.
While you are more likely to see the boys on the far-right side of their habitat during the day, they do utilize their entire space. According to Nikki, the right side tends to be the shadier side of the habitat, so when the sun is out, the trio is typically searching for a nice shady spot!
Want to know who is who? Check their colors and manes!
Chobe: The lightest in color.
Karoo: Looks similar to Ruaha but has a much shorter mane.
Ruaha: Looks similar to Karoo but has a much longer mane.
Over the past few months, our animal care staff have been able to learn a lot about our boys, especially about their personalities! “Karoo is the most inquisitive lion; he is the first one to come check out new things,” said Nikki. “Chobe is definitely the leader of our trio and is the most dominant. Ruaha is more timid and took the longest to warm up to keepers.”
Their keepers have been working on training certain behaviors with the three lions, including target, sit, lay down and stand up. They all seem to be doing well with these more simple behaviors, said Nikki, which means we will soon look into working on more complex behaviors with them, such as opening their mouths so we can look at their teeth. These types of voluntary behaviors will make veterinary exams less stressful on these big cats and allow us to better manage their care.
“It has been amazing working with them. It’s always exciting to see the lions’ reactions to the enrichment items we provide for them. Training and relationship building with them has been very rewarding as a keeper,” Nikki said.
If you have yet to meet Chobe, Karoo and Ruaha, head over to our Wild Florida section on your next Zoo visit to check out their temporary home!
Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.