Viral video misleads viewers about zoo lions

Posted at 8:23 AM, Jun 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-17 08:23:51-04

A recent video taken at Potter Park Zoo has caused outrage around the world. Angry comments have been streaming in to the zoo from the UK, Germany, and other countries around the world, demanding the lions be either released or given better care. But the lead keeper of these lions told us that they are happy and healthy.

"We spend daily efforts making sure that they're physically fit," says Annabell Marcum, the carnivore and primate lead keeper. "We also weigh everybody monthly, and do a body condition score."

The lion's body, which was criticized as being too thin and malnourished, is actually that of an extremely healthy lion.

"For the lions specifically, we want to make sure that we can see their waist, and we want to make sure that we can see where their ribs are," says Marcum, "but we don't necessarily want to be able to see every rib easily."

In terms of the sounds the lion was making, experts say that's normal too.

"Lions make those vocalizations to communicate over long distances, and they do it a lot," states Kenna Lehmann, a PhD candidate in Animal Communication at Michigan State.

She thinks the lion was just trying to communicate with it's sister and the other at the zoo.

The lions also aren't just confined to the indoor enclosure, as the video suggests. There is also an outdoor enclosure, and another one away from the public.

The page that recorded and posted the video visited the zoo and was concerned about the lions. He did not see the larger part of their enclosure inside or outdoors.

Video credit to Facebook page of Mr. Offensive.