When I visited Werribee Open Range Zoo recently, I did not expect it to be any different to the numerous visits we had before. The Safari will still be the star attraction and our most favourite activity.
We were in for a surprise when we went to the aptly-named “Lions on the Edge” exhibit area, where a clear plastic/glass partition separated visitors from the lions basking in their parched savannah landscape. There is a safari jeep strategically placed such that its boot jutted through the partition into the territory of the lions.
The lions love to jump onto the boot and frolick with each other, merely inches from the fascinated onlookers. They appear to be completely oblivious to the presence of its human spectators, which makes me wonder whether the partition is only see-through in one direction. Otherwise, how would you explain the contrast between our excitements and their nonchalance?
A zookeeper told me there are currently 11 lions. From my online research, there are 2 male cubs (Alto, Lwazi) and 2 female cubs (Asali, Itola) born on 12th August 2017. They are siblings to four cubs (Ndidi, Aziza, Zuberi and Kibibi) born in 2016 to the same mother Nilo and father Johari. Another 3 lions (Kashka, Kubwa and Kito) tnat were born at Werribee Open Range Zoo in October 2015 were transferred to Melbourne Zoo, following the deaths of three adult lions at Melbourne Zoo.