Monday, March 24, 2008

Cagey lions are just scaredy cats.

By Brady Haran
BBC News
Are the new lions at Twycross Zoo just a couple of scaredy cats?

The lionesses arrived at the Leicestershire zoo on Wednesday, but by Thursday afternoon neither had emerged from their transport crates.

Curator Neil Dorman said: "A lot of people think these cats are big, brave animals that aren't scared of anything.

"But actually big cats can get nervous like anybody."

The two Asiatic lionesses - Kyra and Asha - are both two years old.

They arrived from Edinburgh Zoo as part of Europe's captive breeding programme.

The endangered species is found only in India. There are thought to be about 350 remaining the wild.

A little treat

One woman keeping an eye on the new pair was Twycross Zoo's marketing head, Kim Riley, who was hoping they would appear in time for the busy Easter period.

"It would be brilliant for people to come along and see them... if they peek out," she said.

"At the moment they seem to feel very comfortable inside their boxes."

Mr Dorman was confident the lions would emerge soon.

He would consider using food as an incentive, but lions rarely show interest in food when they are in new surroundings.

"As you can imagine, it is not the easiest thing to get a lion to move if it doesn't want to," he said.

The lionesses replace Twycross's male, Kamal, who recently moved to Bristol Zoo for breeding purposes.


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