Tuesday, July 19, 2011 was the third birthday of Naples Zoo’s purebred South African lions (Panthera leo krugeri). To celebrate the occasion, keepers at Naples Zoo gave the cats their own cake. Of course, the regular flour cake with sugar frosting would not satisfy a carnivores’ cravings so keepers prepared a special lion-friendly treat.
Their summer birthday was cooled down with a three-tiered cake made of ice — flavored with both cow and goat’s milk and frosted with icing made of ground turkey. To top it off, the birthday candles were frozen beef blood. Guests watched the young adult lions tear into their cake in Lagoon Loop at Naples Zoo.
Lions grow up fast. While the average US boy will be 5 times his birth weight by age 3, the Zoo’s 3-year-old male lion already weighs over 480 pounds. That’s more than 160 times his birth weight. Although born in the United States, the genetics of these young lions can be directly traced to southern African populations.
Lions have lost 80% of their historic range. To help them in the wild, Naples Zoo supports conservation programs in Africa for these magnificent predators. Zoo guests can learn more about the issue and how to help at the Zoo’s educational display Africa’s Lions: Disappearing Plain Sight funded by The Jacob G. Schmidlapp Trust.
And in order to maintain a genetically diverse population outside the wild for at least 100 years, the Zoo’s rare purebred cats participate in a Species Survival Plan® coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
About Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
NaplesZoo at Caribbean Gardens is a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has opened five feature exhibits in the last five years including the all new Giraffe Feeding Experience. The nationally accredited zoo is nestled in a 43-acre historic botanical garden founded in 1919 and cooperates in conservation programs both in and outside the wild for endangered species. Naples Zoo offers families a full day wild fun from apes to zebras featuring wildlife shows, cruises and other entertaining educational programming which reached over 300,000 guests in 2010.
Daily presentations include Alligator Bay Feeding, Meet the Keeper Series, and Jungle Larry™ and Safari Jane’s™ Snakes Alive! Guests also enjoy two premiere presentations in the Safari Canyon theater where they see live animals from feline predators to venomous snakes along with exciting video footage. And one of the zoo’s most popular activities is the Primate Expedition Cruise where guests embark on a guided cruise through islands inhabited by monkeys, lemurs, and apes.
The all-day pay-one-price ticket includes admission to both the nationally accredited zoo and historic garden along with all shows, tours, exhibits, and the boat ride. ($19.95 adults age 13+/ $12.95 children 3 to 12, under 3 free. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age). Annual memberships and the discount tickets are also available online at www.napleszoo.org. Visitors enjoy healthy meals at Wynn’s at the Zoo and shop for wild gifts in The ZOO Gift Shop. Naples Zoo welcomes guests daily from 9:00 to 5:00 with the last ticket sold at 4:00 and is located at 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road across from the Coastland Center mall in the heart of Naples. To learn more, click www.napleszoo.org or call (239) 262-5409. Follow the Zoo at www.twitter.com/NaplesZoo.