Since the lion cubs made their way to Denver from Qatar, I have decided that I would spend as much time with them as I could. I've been visiting a few times a week for about a month now, spending about 2 hours with them each visit. I would always lay on the bench across from their window, I thought maybe, cos nobody visits the zoo to lay on benches, maybe they'd recognize me if I did that every time. I've played with them through the glass, sneaking and pouncing, batting our paws against the glass and nuzzling through it. Then, when they all were done playing, they'd all lay down together to rest.
Today, they weren't in Pahali Ya Mwana, the nursery yard, but they were in the main area, Predator Ridge, instead. I lay at the base of the viewing windows, actually right next to Ya Mwana, kind of out of the way of sight and foot traffic, and I watched the two males, Tsavo and Enzi, and the female, Sabi, just resting. I lay there for a while, and every so often, Tsavo, who was always the most playful with me, would look over at me, and I'd look back. I got really tired, and started to nod off. In between nods, I noticed Tsavo and Sabi playing; then, after another blink, Tsavo had come over to rest right beside me, and Enzi followed; like always, they lay in a group, but I felt a part of it. Had there been no glass there, I could have rested my arm across Tsavo.
It was beautiful. I have heard stories of man befriending beast, and I can only wonder if this is what it is like... or a similarity, for what bond there may be is separated by glass. I nodded off again.
I woke to a crowd of parents with strollers, taking pictures of their children against the window, with the resting lions in the background. Surely they had noticed I was asleep there- it felt weird, a strange kid sleeping next to their children in their family vacation photos. So I stood and pushed through to the back of the crowd. I turned around; Tsavo and Enzi had stood as well, and were wandering off.
Quite memorable, wot wot.
A Tank of Weak Coffee
and a bouquet of cilantro
- Lion Cubs at Denver Zoo