Lion Encounter: Lion Encounter is an active conservation program that is passionate about ensuring a secure future for the African lion. |
The lions that we walk with at the Masuwe Estate (in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe) or within the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park (in Livingstone, Zambia) are all captive bred and have been raised by our teams of experienced staff. Lions that are bred at our breeding sites stay with their mothers until 3 weeks old. After this, the cubs meet their human families and continue to be raised by Lion Encounter staff. This way we can start to take the cubs for their daily walks in the bush which provides them with the experiences they need to prepare them for their future.
We walk lion cubs as part of the first stage of our conservation program. This requires the young lions being exposed to their natural environment and provided with as many opportunities to learn and develop to as close to that of a wild lion as possible. This means that they often come across wildlife and game whilst on their walks, and the walks allow them the opportunities to practice hunting and stalking. Occasionally our cubs will be successful and our program has seen our walking lions kill giraffe, wildebeest, bushbuck, buffalo, and impala amongst others. The full conservation project consists of 3 or 4 stages. This staged program has been designed to take many factors into consideration, animal reintroduction is a very delicate procedure - and lions are no exception.
As all of our activities are operated for the purposes of our conservation program, we do not always have very small young cubs on site. Keeping cute baby lion cubs on site to pull in the tourists is definitely not what we're about! This is also why we do not have other species on site either, cheetahs, white lions, etc, they are not part of our conservation project. Whilst we understand that guests may enjoy the experience of meeting them, we are a conservation project first.
The lion cubs we walk with are trained only to the point that is safe to walk them with humans. They do not "sit", "roll over" or any other things your pet dog or cat may do.
They do however, play, explore, discover, learn and are absolutely fantastic to watch. Just like us, they have different personalities, characters, likes and dislikes and to spend time with them as a volunteer or a guest on one of our lion walks will truly give you a glimpse into our young cubs lives, as they continue their journey through our ground-breaking conservation program.