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Zoo Buddies: African Lion

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 5:34 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Due to COVID-19, we are on location for our Zoo Buddies segments, which formerly took place at the KNOE studio. The following is a transcript of the segment.

Jessica: We have an exciting friend with us today. Who do we have?

Lisa Taylor: We have Rocko, our male African Lion, which you know I could not bring him into the studio, but he does like to come up to us at the barriers here at the zoo and he’s pretty animated. But African Lions as you know are the top predator in Africa. These guys, the males particularly can get up to 600 pounds, and they have this beautiful mane that they actually maintain maturity at between 3 and 5 years old. Rocko is about 5 1/2 years old and he is amazing. We got him from a zoo in New Jersey, and he was hand-raised by their zookeepers at the other facilities, but he is pretty conditioned to do what we ask him to do. 

Lisa: Yes! And I'm going to go ahead and ask for the other lion to be let out. Ok you're coming to see us. So this is our female lion she is 2 1/2 years old and she's basically like a kitten she loves to play. We do the bubble bath and all these other items in the yard because we have to give them enrichment and things to play with because they're inside a smaller area than they would be in the wild and we want to give them things to play with so they're not bored. Cats typically like a lot of scent enrichment, which is kind of funny, you know we like to wear our perfumes, and they like to rub their scent on anything we sprinkle perfume on in the exhibit. The bubble bath is a favorite of Safia's and Rocko's too they will actually get in the pool.

Jessica: That's so much fun, and their coats are just beautiful. For people who want to get out to the zoo to see these guys, how are they going to do that with COVID-19? What are the changes that people have to keep in mind?

Lisa: Basically, you’ll still be able to walk around the zoo and see all of our animals because your not right up close to them everything is fine. We did discover that big cats can actually catch the virus, so we have to wear our masks around them. The only thing that’s different about the zoo right now is that you can’t go into the buildings. We do not have our rides open because we can’t social distance like we would like to, but all our animals are out ready for you to view, so come take a walk on the wild side, you’ve got to see these lions!

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