I don’t know about you, but I love cats of all kinds. Big, small, fluffy, tall, I don’t care–I just really love cats, man. But there is something about the majestic look of lions. It’s that look that stops you dead in your tracks to marvel at their infinite beauty. The Audubon Zoo located in Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana knows just how special these big cats are. To unveil their latest return to the Big Easy’s zoo, they took to their Facebook page to share with their fans the big news!
But instead of featuring the lions to come, they found the purrfect fill-ins to make cat lovers’ hearts swoon–mine included!
Take a look at the adorable clip below from their Facebook page they shared earlier this month.
I agree that costumes are not typical or necessary for a cat, but you must admit that this ad for the lions is downright adorable! And best of all, the “fill-in lions” are helping to spread awareness for adoptions at the Louisiana SPCA.
In addition to the recent video release, the Louisiana SPCA has partnered with the Audubon Zoo for “Adopt A Cat. See The Lions” to spread awareness for both the lions and the domesticated felines in need of humans to adopt them.
And if you were wondering, the kittens featured in the video were available for adoption at the time of the shoot. Judging by their overall adorableness, hopefully they landed themselves furever homes not long after.
Since the lions arrived earlier in the year, zookeepers have been working behind the scenes to help them settle in, implementing a daily routine that involves structured play, eating 5 to 12 pounds a day of protein like fish, frozen quail and rabbit, and napping for about 20 hours a day, according to Madi Marullo, one of the animal care specialists at Audubon Zoo.
Check out these exclusive images of the lovely lions, courtesy of NOLA.com!
Such magnificent creatures, aren’t they?! Those piercing eyes are certainly mesmerizing. I cannot imagine if I were in the wild and saw those peepers fixated on me!
The Audubon Zoo’s new lion enclosure is part of the African Safari exhibit that was first introduced in the 1980’s.
It’s been reported that the lions are doing “just fine” and adjusting to each other well:
“You might hear them roaring at each other,” says Vice President and Audubon Zoo General Curator Joel Hamilton.
This new habitat was made possible thanks to the extremely kind donation from philanthropists Joy and Boysie Bollinger. It’s the first time in 5 years that lions have called Audubon Zoo home. And both zoo goers and staff are delighted to have these big cats back once more!
Aside from displaying and caring for their pride, the main purpose of the exhibit is to educate the public. They need to learn about the plight of these gorgeous big cats in the wild. In just two decades, lion populations in the wild decreased by 43 percent to as few as 23,000, according to the African Wildlife Federation.
More on the exhibit, from Fox 8 Live New Orleans:
“We’ve built this starting around a kopje. [The] big outcroppings in Africa that you see out on the plains,” said Joel Hamilton, Vice-President and General Curator at the Audubon Zoo. Kopjes stick out in the real African Savannah like islands of rock. “Lions often use them as a place to get up on top of the rocks. To look out over their kingdom.” The focal point is a replica of an abandoned 1920s-era train station. It’s meant to symbolize the transportation system that once spanned lion country and opened to door to habitat loss and poaching.
About the Audubon Nature Institute, which operates the Audubon Zoo of New Orleans:
Audubon Nature Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit, operates a family of ten museums and parks dedicated to nature. We serve our visitors, our community and our world as an educational resource. An environmental guardian, a leader in economic development and a venue for family entertainment. The success of the Audubon family lies within the individual strengths of its facilities. Working together, they are helping to create a bright future for generations to come.