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If you wish to access all of the audio files along the Walkway (to use your phone instead of the kiosks), please go to our main Audio Tour page.

Audio Kiosk #7

Bolivian Lion Story

You are now standing in the Bolivia Lion House. The structure was built in late 2010 in anticipation of the Sanctuary rescuing 25 African Lions from the South American country. In 2009 Bolivia passed a national law prohibiting the use of animals in circuses. As a result, hundreds of animals needed homes including 25 African Lions. So as not to break up family groups, the Sanctuary agreed to take all 25 Lions at the same time. Because they were arriving in February 2011, it was necessary to build a building that could be heated since the animals would not be acclimated to the winter weather. The eight sub-enclosures in the Lion House were built to accommodate the Lions who came from eight different circuses. In the ensuing months, as the Lions adapted to their new home and climate, they were introduced into the four surrounding and other habitats. This rescue created quite a stir in the local area as it received a lot of media coverage. After all, how often does a large cargo plane land in Denver with 25 African Lions?! It remains to this day one of the premier rescues undertaken by the Sanctuary.


Land of the Lions

This area in and around the Bolivia Lion House could easily be called the Land of the Lions. That’s because there are a large number of Lions prides living in close proximity to one another. This, of course, is very beneficial to Lions since they are such social and territorial creatures and derive immense amounts of enrichment through interacting with other Lions. In addition to the Lions that live here at the Lion house and in the attached four habitats, there are two additional Lion habitats to the east and one farther down the walkway which will be described at another kiosk. If you will, all of these Lions create a critical mass which often gets expressed through large amounts of roaring!


Incubator for New Lion Rescues

As the original Lions from Bolivia got moved into habitats, space was freed-up in the Lion House which could then be used for newly-arriving Lions. It can almost be considered an incubator for new Lions. This protected environment allows Lions to get used to their new home as well as be introduced to one another safely and in a controlled manner. New Lions can be placed next to each other where they can get to know one another-- hopefully leading to the formation of new Lion prides or adding new Lions to an existing pride. Again, because the Lion House provides protection from the elements, it also allows newly-arrived Lions to acclimate to cooler weather if necessary.


Geriatric Lions

Just like with arriving new Lions, the Lion House also provides a great place for geriatric or assisted living Lions. Sometimes, as an animal ages, it is no longer able to thrive in a large habitat due to the distances that need to be covered for feeding, watering and finding shelter. Often this is brought about due to arthritic conditions which are very common in captive-born animals. Just like an older person might prefer a studio apartment on one level rather than a 3,000 square-foot house on multiple levels, some older animals prefer and do better in a smaller area as they age. Again, because there are always Lions in the house or nearby, such animals receive the necessary social stimulation to be content and happy Lions. Not to mention, in the Lion House it is possible to provide incredibly warm and comfortable straw houses with heated flooring that provides comfort to older animals with arthritic joints and less body fat.

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