BIRTH­DAY TREAT CAUSES REAL STINK

The Chronicle - - National News -

THE lion cubs at Wer­ribee Open Range Zoo en­joyed a stinky treat for their first birth­day – a spe­cially made pa­per mache cup­cake smeared with the scent of rhino poo.

The cel­e­bra­tion was a test of Ilola, Asali, Ato and Lwazi’s devel­op­ing man­ners.

“The rhino poo lets them use their minds and bod­ies in the way they would in the wild, as the scent elic­its nat­u­ral re­sponses,” lion keeper Kather­ine Quinn said

The cubs and their mum Nilo spent their first few weeks of their life in a nest­ing den away from the rest of the pride, to sim­u­late what would hap­pen in the wild. But it’s not all fun and gi­ant cup­cakes for the young cats, who have a big job to do.

They are am­bas­sadors for li­ons in the wild. The global lion pop­u­la­tion has plum­meted in the past 20 years and it is es­ti­mated there are as few as 20,000 wild li­ons left.

Pic­ture: JAKE NOWAKOWSKI

Lion sib­lings Ilola, Asali, Ato and Lwazi have cel­e­brated their first birth­day at Wer­ribee Open Range Zoo by tuck­ing into gi­ant, an­i­mal-friendly pa­per mache cup­cakes.

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