Frolicking in the autumn leaves, this little lion cub is having the time of her life as she excitedly plays in her enclosure.
Tiny cub Karis proved she’s not too dissimilar to human children as she threw herself into the pile of golden leaves carefully collected by her keepers, even ending up with a pile on her head.
Staff at the Blair Drummond Safari Park, near Stirling, Scotland, had been raking up the leaves to keep the attraction tidy, when Karis’s keeper Brian Reid realised that his little charge might enjoy playing in them and moved the pile into her enclosure.
The adventurous 11-week-old cub, who was born in September, is proving to be quite the character, with Mr Reid constantly coming up with new ways to entertain her.
‘The keepers try to keep things interesting for Karis,’ said park manager Gary Gilmour.
‘Brian Reid, the head lion keeper, had put a pile of leaves in for her to jump about in.
‘We were raking up the leaves at the park as you do at this time of year to keep things tidy and David came up with the idea to pick the leaves up and given them to Karis.
‘She’s loving them, just like any child would.
‘The keepers use any opportunity to use materials we have to hand and are available.’
And it’s not just Karis who has been making the most of the autumn, meerkats at the park, which is closed to customers for the winter, have also taken to playing in piles of leaves as they hunt for mealworms to eat.
Mr Gilmour said that Karis has also enjoyed playing with cardboard boxes, although as she is still so young her mother Teekay is still keeping a watchful eye over the playful cub.
Karis was born on September 10 to Teekay and father Dudley, joining her older sister Libby who was born two years ago.
The cub will grow to around 150kg and brings the Blair Drummond pride to eight lions in total.
‘She’s doing absolutely great,’ said Mr Gilmour.
‘She is growing fast, and she has quite a wee temper on her.
‘She’s just starting to eat meat now.’
Karis has been kept away from the rest of the pride since her birth as keepers wait until she is a little bit bigger, although they expect her to be introduced to her fellow lions around Christmas time.
‘She’s still with her mum but she will be mixed with the group in the next two or three weeks,’ said Mr Gilmour.
‘We leave it three or four months before we mix them to make sure they’re a bit bigger and more robust.
‘She’s got a big sister Libby who she will be able to play with.’
And winter in Scotland might be a long way from the warm plains of Africa, Mr Gilmour said that the lions are not affected by the falling temperatures.
‘They’re not bothered by the cold the lions, they even like playing in the snow,’ he said.
‘They’re like us though, if it’s raining and miserable they will go inside.’