Friday, April 3, 2015

Lunch with a #lion?

The New Zealand zoo which lets you stand in a cage and feed the lions... while they jump on the roof and stick their tongue through the bars!

  • A New Zealand zoo, Orana Wildlife Park, is giving visitors the thrilling opportunity to step into the lion's den
  • Orana Wildlife Park in New Zealand's Christchurch has installed a moving cage to bring you close to the lions
  • The king of the jungle clambers over the cage, jumping onto the roof and sticking his tongue through the bars
  •  20 people, including visitors and zoo keepers, climb inside to have lunch with a lion for $40
video
 
 
Many thrill seekers have slipped into a cage to get up close and personal with a shark – now they can do the same with the king of the jungle, putting them just a paw swipe away from a lion - with nothing but cage bars between them.

A New Zealand zoo is giving visitors the thrilling opportunity to step over the fence and into the depths of a lion's den during feeding time, if they dare. Orana Wildlife Park in New Zealand's Christchurch is one of the few zoos in the world which has installed a moving cage to bring spectators as close as possible to lions in an open habitat.

During 'The Lion Encounrter', the spectators are mere centimetres away from the huge animal, sitting inside their lair to see every whisker, tooth and hair - close enough for a cuddle if they choose.

Just trying to be friends? A lion puts its paws up against the bars to try and become better acquainted with the visitors inside
Just trying to be friends? A lion puts its paws up against the bars to try and become better acquainted with the visitors inside

Orana Wildlife Park in New Zealand's Christchurch is one of the few zoos in the world which has installed a moving cage to bring spectators as close as possible to lions in an open habitat
Orana Wildlife Park in New Zealand's Christchurch is one of the few zoos in the world which has installed a moving cage to bring spectators as close as possible to lions in an open habitat

Tucker time: The zoo keeper uses a flat palm to feed the feline, keeping it distracted with constant treats in the form of raw meat
Tucker time: The zoo keeper uses a flat palm to feed the feline, keeping it distracted with constant treats in the form of raw meat

20 people, including visitors and zoo keepers, climb inside to have lunch with a lion with a pack of the hungry beasts clambering over the cage - clawing and licking at the mesh!
20 people, including visitors and zoo keepers, climb inside to have lunch with a lion with a pack of the hungry beasts clambering over the cage - clawing and licking at the mesh!

On the prowl: The lion clambers on top of the cage and examines the scene from all angles - perhaps looking for another entry into the cage
On the prowl: The lion clambers on top of the cage and examines the scene from all angles - perhaps looking for another entry into the cage

20 people, including visitors and zoo keepers, climb inside to have lunch with a lion with a pack of the hungry beasts clambering over the cage - clawing and licking at the mesh! 

Park spokesman, Nathan Hawke, said: 'The Lion Encounter is a genuinely unique visitor experience. 'While people can see lions in numerous places, we think we can get you as close as you would safely want to get to view these magnificent animals.'

Feeling excluded: A lion vocalises its annoyance that it is not allowed to hang out inside the cage with everybody else
Feeling excluded: A lion vocalises its annoyance that it is not allowed to hang out inside the cage with everybody else

Cuddly: Father-of-two Ekant Veer took part in the Lion Encounter and the lion looked so soft he felt the surprise urge to reach out and pat him
Cuddly: Father-of-two Ekant Veer took part in the Lion Encounter and the lion looked so soft he felt the surprise urge to reach out and pat him

King of the jungle: In the video, the inquisitive felines climb on top of the moving cage to stare straight at the human inhabitants, while the minders keep them content with snacks
King of the jungle: In the video, the inquisitive felines climb on top of the moving cage to stare straight at the human inhabitants, while the minders keep them content with snacks

Ekant Veer, a the 35-year-old Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, filmed the lions at Orana Wildlife Park from his incredible vantage point in the cage. In his video, the inquisitive felines climb on top of the moving cage to stare straight at the human inhabitants, while the minders keep them content with snacks. Ekant said instead of feeling scared, he was surprised by his gut instinct when facing off with the kings of the jungle.

Kisses: It looks like butter would melt in his mouth as the feline pokes his tongues through the mesh, as if to try and lick the inhabitants 
Kisses: It looks like butter would melt in his mouth as the feline pokes his tongues through the mesh, as if to try and lick the inhabitants 

Many thrill seekers have slipped into a cage to get up close and personal with a shark – now they can do the same with the king of the jungle, putting them just a paw swipe away from a lion - with nothing but cage bars between them

A New Zealand zoo is giving visitors the thrilling opportunity to step over the fence and into the lion's den during feeding time, if they dare
A New Zealand zoo is giving visitors the thrilling opportunity to step over the fence and into the lion's den during feeding time, if they dare

'I was fascinated - some people were worried but I really wanted to reach out and pat them. Some of the lions were huge but they all seemed very calm. There were a couple of times when they would roar and it just sent vibrations right through you, which was scary but also really cool.' He described it as an 'intimate' experience, as you are 'more open and exposed' to the lions than ever.

Look, no hands! A lion is incredibly close in the video as it devours a treat - showing off its long claws and sharp teeth
Look, no hands! A lion is incredibly close in the video as it devours a treat - showing off its long claws and sharp teeth

I surrender! The lion tries everything to try and lure the humans out of the cage to explore the depths of the lion's dens
I surrender! The lion tries everything to try and lure the humans out of the cage to explore the depths of the lion's dens

'I prefer these up-close experiences to more controlled ones. It's more unpredictable and different every time, especially when dealing with animals. Orana Wildlife Park is New Zealand's only open range zoo. Set on 80 hectares of park-like grounds, the animals enclosures are expansive and developed to imitate their natural habitat as closely as possible.'

New Zealand has more than its share of thrill-seeking activities, ranging from bungee jumping, white water rafting, speed boat rides and beautiful sky dives.
However, for Ekant this topped his list of adrenaline-inducing activities – and lunch with a lion will only cost $40. 'I would definitely encourage others to do this. If you're coming to New Zealand it's definitely one of the crazier things we do.'

Say cheese! In the cage spectators are so close they can see every whisker, tooth and hair - close enough for a cuddle
Say cheese! In the cage spectators are so close they can see every whisker, tooth and hair - close enough for a cuddle

No comments: