LILONGWE WILDLIFE CENTRE NEWS: Since Simba arrived at the end of February, our team have been monitoring Simba and Bella’s every move. And the good news is, so far so good! Here’s a video of them getting to know each other:
Although Simba had to undergo a short quarantine period, the two lions were housed next to each other and the sound and scent of the new male certainly had Bella’s attention. She appeared very excited at his arrival and spent a great deal of time sniffing the air and looking in his direction, although she could not see him her instincts told her exactly where he was. After he had settled in and all requirements were met the next move was to let them meet each other through the dividing fence. This was done by keeping him in his night quarters and allowing her out into his enclosure where they were able to interact through the wire fence.
Initially she was very aggressive towards him and slammed at the fence with her paw, he on the other hand was totally laid back and although interested in her presence totally ignored her aggression. The next day the animals were put into the same situation but the outcome was totally different. She became very flirty and rolled on her back in a very friendly way. This was the reaction we wanted so we felt more optimistic that the animals would be compatible and sometime soon be able to be put together. At this time the cats have been allowed access to each other, albeit with a dividing fence, every day, and the signs are good that a full integration will be possible in the near future. We just have a few more things to do to try and test their compatibility and then if all goes to plan we will attempt the introduction.
Both Bella and Simba have now started to show normal lion behaviour – which particularly in Simba’s case is probably the first time in his life – which is great news.