Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Indianapolis Zoo is Devoting an Entire Weekend to Celebrating the Cool Cats of Summer.
By Maura Giles
Indianapolis, IN - This year the Indianapolis Zoo is devoting an entire weekend to celebrating the cool cats of summer! On June 19 and 20, Harris Bank presents African Lion Awareness Weekend, which offers an opportunity for the whole family to learn more about the African lions at the Indianapolis Zoo.
Zoo guests will discover more about the Zoo’s three lions - lionesses Zuri and Shamfa, and male lion Nyack. Learn what they eat, how they play and how the keepers can tell them apart during chats in front of the Zoo’s African Lion exhibit at 11am and 1pm. Ask keepers questions, touch lion artifacts such as a lion pelt or skull, and see enrichment toys that the lions at the Zoo love to play with!
During African Lion Awareness Weekend, parents can have a free official photo identification card made for their children at the Plains entrance Saturday, 10am-1pm, and Sunday, 11am-2pm. Plus, guests can win prizes from Harris Bank all weekend from 10am to 4pm! There will also be photo opportunities with the Zoo’s lion mascot, Kiburi, and Harris Bank’s lion mascot, Hubert.
Come see why the Indianapolis Zoo takes pride in its pride! This event is included with regular zoo admission.
African Lion (Panthera leo) Facts:
· Lions are the only cats that live in groups, which are called prides. Prides are family units that may include up to three males, a dozen or so females, and their young.
· All of a pride's lionesses are related, and female cubs typically stay with the group as they age. Young males eventually leave and establish their own prides by taking over a group headed by another male.
· Only male lions boast manes, the impressive fringe of long hair that encircles their heads. Males defend the pride's territory, which may include some 100 square miles (259 square kilometers) of grasslands, scrub, or open woodlands.
· Female lions are the pride's primary hunters. They often work together to prey upon antelopes, zebras, wildebeest, and other large animals of the open grasslands. Lions will hunt alone if the opportunity presents itself, and they also steal kills from hyenas or wild dogs.
· Lions have been celebrated throughout history for their courage and strength. They once roamed most of Africa and parts of Asia and Europe. Today they are found only in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, except for one very small population of Asian lions that survives in India's Gir Forest.
· Lions are listed by the IUCN Redbook as vulnerable, and as threatened by Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).
· Male lions can reach a height of four feet and a length of up to eight feet. Females are smaller than males. Weight can vary from 330 to 500 pounds. At top speed, lions can run up to 50 miles per hour, but only for short distance. The average lifespan is ten to 14 years. (At 17 years old, the Zoo’s lioness Shamfa is an elderly citizen of the species!
Photo: African Lion Shamfa (photo by Maura Giles)
About the Indianapolis Zoo
Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. The Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation.
To view Indianapolis Zoo's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to: http://www.zandavisitor.com/forumtopicdetail-19-Indianapolis_Zoo