In this month's animal profile we take a closer look at the iconic lions at Melbourne Zoo. Precinct Manager Adrian Howard is a brave man, working nearly every day for the last 12 years with the lions at Melbourne Zoo. In his 19 year career, Adrian has also worked with seals, elephants and primates.
But the lions seem to be animals that have captured most of his attention, “Lions are exciting! They have two speeds, asleep or alert and they’re very charismatic and powerful,” Adrian says.
“They can spend up to 18 hours a day asleep, interrupted by random but regular vocal outbursts,” he said.
After many years of featuring as a main attraction at Melbourne Zoo, it’s become clear the lion exhibit is in dire need of an upgrade. The re-development of their new exhibit, Predators' Precinct will allow members to get to know our lion family with construction to begin in early 2014.
“Predators' will be an exciting and stimulating environment for the lions, and visitors will have a much closer and unimpeded view of these magnificent creatures,” he said.
The Predators' Precinct will cover nearly a quarter of the Zoo and will be developed in two stages. The first stage will involve a major upgrade of the lions and Wild Dogs while the second stage will focus on big cats such as Snow Leopards, bears, Giant Ant-eaters and Komodo Dragons.
Stage 1 of Predators' Precinct will also include a world-class learning centre that will form the heart of the exhibit, with the ability to accommodate up to 100 students at a time.
Despite their status as ‘King of the Jungle’ there is rapidly increasing pressure on lion populations which have been in serious decline over the last few decades mainly due to humans encroaching on their habitat.