Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Hogle Zoo's New Lion Habitat

Hey there Kitty Kitty!
Utah's Hogle Zoo dates from 1931 and is located at the mouth of Emigration Canyon, not far from downtown Salt Lake City.

The Zoo has a brand new lion habitat that my friend Meldee went to check out on opening day.

Being camera shy?  Or just grooming?
There are two male lions in the habitat.  Their names are Baron and Vulcan.  They are truly magnificent.

What a beautiful animal!
My friend mentions that she was standing next to a little girl who cried out excitedly, "Mommy, look!  He looks like he wants to hug someone!"

Sure enough, his paws (below) are curved as if they are hugging someone.

Those "hugging" paws are also huge and deadly
 I love cats in all shapes and sizes.  I don't think these would take kindly to a human hug, however!

Look at that mane from the back!
My friend said the new enclosure is really nice.  There is lovely grass, a watering hole, rocks in the sun... it makes the animals easy to see, while giving them a pleasant home.

A sleek and lean killing machine
My little kitty Jack weighs about 13 pounds.  I've often thought he could do considerable damage to me if he felt like it.  He has incredible muscles and strength in his little frame.

I cannot begin to imagine the power in this beautiful cat's muscles (above).  At (I'm guessing) around ten times my Jack's size, I'm sure they could rip me - or any adult human - to shreds quite easily!

I love this face!
As you look at that magnificent head and body it's not hard to know why the Lion is called the King of the Jungle.

The King taking a nap in the sun
Lions sleep from 20-22 hours a day on the average.

Looking comfy!
The keeper said it is a great sign that they are sleeping (as shown in these photos) - it means they are comfortable and happy in their new home!

The Lion Fountain has been around for many years.
The Hogle's famous Lion Fountain has been refurbished and placed right beside the new lion enclosure.  It was always a favorite with the kids and with adults for fun photo ops.  What a nice place to put it!

The Lady Lion sleeping
The female lions are being kept separate from the males for the time being, as they are still young. The girls are only 1 1/2 years old.

The female lions are named Seyla and Nabu.  You would think they would hail from deepest Africa.  Nope.  They are from that faraway place called Washington, land of Starbucks.

Look at these lovely kitty feet!
The lady lions are young enough that they still have some of their cub spots.  (You can see them on their legs and bellies if you look hard.)

Seyla and Nabu relaxing
 The keepers say the cub spots will disappear in the next few months.

Hey!  I see you there with the camera!
The Hogle Zoo is one of the most visited attractions in Utah and the top paid-for attraction in Salt Lake City.  Its natural terrain covers 42 acres of tree-lined pathways where visitors can view not only the new Lion Exhibit, but over 800 animals, according to their website.

What a beautiful princess!
There are more than 2,000 USDA licensed wildlife exhibitors in the United States, but less than 10% of them have been accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).  Utah's Hogle Zoo is one of that 10%, which means it is one of the best zoos in the world.

Hogle Zoo is also a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

With the new Lion Habitat, I think it would be a great place to visit when you are in the Salt Lake area.  Go say hi to Baron, Vulcan, Seyla and Nabu some time soon!

Photos:  MP Love

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