Lions in Captivity
Lions and Zoos
There are many zoos around the world that have the mighty Lion living in them. The purpose of this is twofold. On one hand you have the need these animals have for protection. In a controlled setting they have a better chance of survival. The lifespan of the Lion increases in captivity to about 20 years. In the wild they tend to live from 12 to 15 years.
The second benefit is that we are able to gain lots of information about these felines. It isn’t always easy to get up close and personal with them in the wild. In captivity though the setting can be arranged for close observations. For example cameras connected to computer monitors have allows us to observe various behaviors including mating and even the cubs being born. Lions seem to mate very well in captivity.
The fact that most people are in awe of the Lion is also a benefit. With them in captivity it often brings larger crowds to the zoos on a regular basis. This can also increase awareness for these animals. Some of the subspecies have 300 or less of them than remain. They may only be found in captivity and that makes them very valuable treasures when it comes to both history and science.
Some people love the idea of having a Lion as a pet. They want to get one as a cub and raise it as a domestic animal. However, these aren’t cuddly kittens as they will grow into very large animals. They do need lots of room to roam around rather than being in a small cage where they can only move back and forth. You have to remember that they are social felines. Therefore they don’t do well when they are isolated as that desire to socialize is very strong for them.
You will notice that in a zoo setting there are always at least two Lions. In most locations there is at least a male and a female. There may be more than one female with the male, especially if the zoo wants to see an increase in population. There can also be a pair of females that live in captivity with each other.
Breeding programs are often very popular for Lions in captivity. When males and females are paired up their genetic profile has often been looked at first. This is to ensure there is some variety in the DNA makeup. These animals already suffer from a type of genetic coding that is extremely closely related. Keeping any diversity that is possible is essential for the future of these felines.
Another type of captivity for the Lions involves different types of circus acts. The taming of the Lions is often one of the most highly anticipated elements of the show. The ringmaster will step courageously into the ring with several lines. They will be performing various tricks for him. Sometimes this includes the ringmaster placing his own head inside of the mouth of one of the Lions.
Animal rights groups have long complained about the use of the Lion in the circus. There are many documented times of these animals living in small filthy cages when they aren’t performing.