Arrival of a male lion
Masai, a gorgeous 5-year-old male lion (Panthera leo), was recently transferred from Tonga Terre d'Accueil, a wildlife sanctuary created by the Zoo of Saint-Martin-la-Plaine in 2008.
Masai was rescued by Tonga at only 8-months old after he was confiscated by the authorities.
He was very fearful, but thanks to the care and attention of his keepers, he gradually gained confidence. Although he was housed in close proximity to other lions, Masai had never had the opportunity to meet any female until he arrived at La Palmyre. He now shares the enclosure of Sheena, our 12-year-old lioness, who was living alone since the death of our former male lion at the end of last year, at the respectable age of 19-years old.
The contact between Masai and Sheena went very well, Sheena showing immediately a keen interest in her new companion and following him everywhere.
This pair will not breed, but we are happy to keep them together. The lion is indeed the only truly social big cat: in the wild, even if the lions do not spend all their time together, they often gather in large troops that may include up to twenty animals.
Seizures of big cats and other exotic animals are unfortunately more and more frequent in our country. The animals are being confiscated either because they are housed in poor conditions or because their owner has no legal authorization to keep them. We need to keep in mind that wild animals are not pets. Once they reach adulthood, their management becomes much more complicated. As a consequence, they are then often forced to spend the rest of their lives in small cages, deprived of any contact with their congeners, which leads to both physical and psychological trauma.
Tonga Terre d'Accueil does an amazing work in rescuing lions, tigers and even Barbary macaques on a regular basis. You can support them by making a donation: