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Werribee Open Range Zoo

Lioness Nilo turns seven at Werribee Zoo

17 March 2019

Summer might be over, but Werribee Open Range Zoo’s lion pride was still thrilled to tear into some icy pole-shaped enrichment on the weekend in celebration of lioness Nilo’s 7th birthday.

The family of eight lions loved exploring the colorful, animal-friendly cardboard gifts filled with wood wool and smeared with interesting scents, such as rhino dung.

As well as helping to celebrate important milestones, enrichment provides mental and physical stimulation for Werribee Zoo’s animals and encourages them to use their minds and bodies as they would in the wild.

African River Trail Coordinator Phoebe Allen described birthday girl Nilo as a dedicated mother to her four cubs Ato, Illoa, Lwazi and Asali. “Nilo is a spectacular mum to her cubs,” Ms Allen said.

“Even now that her kids are a bit older, she will always make sure they eat before she does. “She has strong maternal instincts, carefully watching over all the members of the lion pride at Werribee Zoo.” While being a busy mum and a nurturing leader, Nilo is also an ambassador for lions in the wild.

African lions are classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Numbers have declined by approximately 43 per cent in the past two decades.

Lions face a variety of threats in the wild including poaching, habitat destruction and revenge killings due to conflict over livestock.

You can help conserve the wild lion population by purchasing Beads for Wildlife products from Werribee Open Range Zoo.