Being a lion in captivity can get pretty boring. You sleep all day and food is brought to you on a silver platter. Worst of all it's already dead.
Well the pride at Lion Country Safari woke up to a bit of a surprise this week when they were forced to hunt "live" prey for a meal. And the lions can thank a summer camp full of kids for the menu.
Elephants, zebras and gazelles - all made of paper mache and stuffed with meaty treats - were placed throughout the lion's encampment with the hope of unleashing the pride's natural instinct to hunt like they would in the wild. And the lions didn't disappoint.
The lionesses stalked the motionless zebra, which more resembled a collection of discarded boxes than a real animal. The group also teamed up to topple the near life-size paper mache elephant. And just as it is in the wild, the king of beasts, the male lion, did absolutely nothing until after the women tackled the prey.
"It's fun for the lions, it's fun for the campers, It's fun for the staff and guests as well," said zoo keeper Brian Dowling. "We actually almost every day try to do enrichment for the lions to keep our lions happy. The happier our animals are, the healthier they tend to be."
You have to feel bad for the poor paper animals, who didn't really stand a chance. At least in the wild, they can run away. But the students didn't seem to mind watching their creation torn to shreds - from a distance of course.
While no animals were harmed in the making of the exercise, campers who witnessed the savagery got a glimpse at just how wild these big pussycats can be.