This weekend I discovered lions in Las Vegas! Lion Habitat Ranch, 14 miles south of town, is open to the public and, for a limited time, is selling “up close and personal” encounters with the seven newest additions to their lion exhibit. Born in two litters at the end of November, the one female and six male cubs are being hand raised due their first-time mothers’ inability to care for them. They are adorable, but don’t take my word for their cuteness: see for yourself in the slideshow below.
Lions at Lion Habitat Ranch – Images by Jennifer Nelson
The ranch’s adult lions are impressive, too, but it’s truly amazing to see that cuddly cubs of about 18 pounds at six weeks’ age will eventually become big cats of 400 to 500 pounds or more. I also learned today that these big cats have big appetites: the ranch spends about $20 thousand each month on food. I used to imagine, ever since seeing the movie Born Free as a child, that I would like to live with lions. In reality, I am happy to live with their smaller domestic cousins and not only because their monthly food costs are not nearly so high. How nice to know, though, that I can satisfy any longing to cozy up to a big cat with a quick trip down the highway to Lion Habitat Ranch!
For those of you who enjoyed assembling my December online jigsaw puzzle, here’s another to help you feel closer to lions, too: only 100 pieces this time. If you need Adobe Flash to run the puzzle, click here for the free download.