This morning, we set out for Lion & Safari Park for our safari excursion. On the agenda was a guided tour of the park’s animals and an interaction with a few lion cubs. Our chommies and the students from Germantown Friends School joined us. When we got to the park, the groups boarded two bus-like vehicles with metal fencing as walls. We met our guide/driver Jason. We first went to a lion family with five family members, a male, female and three cubs. We subsequently saw three more prides.
During the very bumpy ride, we (Ms. Tierney’s specifically) were able to ask Jason lots of questions. We learned that the female lions have very eye-catching black dots because 1) it enables quiet communication during a hunt, the lead female would lower her ears to order the group to stay put 2) the dots look like eyes, so it can trick other animals into thinking the back of their head is actually the front. After seeing the lion prides, we drove past a wild dog pack and a cheetah coalition and even spotted a giraffe on the way out.
After observing the animals, we prepared ourselves for the lion cub interaction. The group of us got to spend time with three lion cubs, each 5 months old. Although we were not able to touch the cubs, we were able to get up close and personal to them.
We later researched on the topic of animal parks and realized that tourism brought by similar industries has created more jobs than other industries such as electric. Even though petting zoos can be very controversial, they pose an undeniable benefit to the economy. Additionally, the Lion & Safari Park goes very far to give the animals the best lives possible, and Jason even told us that lions in their park tend to live 10-15 years longer than animals in the wild.
For the rest of the day, we relaxed and decompressed after a long and busy past few days. We appreciated the calming weekend atmosphere at ALA. In the evening we continued with our BUILD projects and participated in an interactive communication challenge with the students from Germantown Friends. It was another day fun of fun and learning!
— Ali and Angela