No matter how big or exotic, a cat is always a cat. In Africa, Johannesburg Zoo’s 11-year-old white lion, Triton, illustrates this truth as he excitedly chases a soccer ball throughout his enclosure while being filmed. For Triton, the highlight of his day is playing with his soccer ball much like a house cat loves pursuing jingle balls throughout the house.
Curator of the large carnivore exhibits at the zoo, Agnes Maluleke, explained Triton’s apparently odd behavior. Born and raised at the zoo, Triton’s love of soccer balls (otherwise known as footballs in Africa) was quickly noted.
Maluleke states, “He goes crazy chasing the ball around the enclosure.”
Triton clearly exhibits this fact as he races through the grass on video and even dips into a small man-made lake to retrieve his ball.
The staff has even noted Triton prefers the company of his soccer ball over spending time with the seven lionesses also in his enclosure. Therefore they choose to continue to provide Triton with this valuable enrichment activity.
Enrichment activities are a necessity for animals kept in zoos and private collections. As carnivores in the wild typically spend the majority of their time hunting and reacting to their environment, zookeepers introduce activities to keep them physically as well as mentally fit during captivity.
Chasing a ball around the lion enclosure is one way Johannesburg Zoo ensures Triton is a happy and well adjusted big cat.
Have you ever seen a big cat love their toys as much as Triton? Do you love lions and other big cats as much as we do? Tell us in the comments and pass this amazing video on to your friends and loved ones – let´s make other people´s day with his cuteness.