Eight-year-old Harry has to work for his supper.

Longleat's Lion King Harry goes out on a limb for his treetop takeaway

Thursday 23 April 2020

Harry the lion is having to branch out to enjoy his own version of a takeaway, courtesy of keepers at Longleat Safari Park. Staff at the Wiltshire wildlife attraction are ensuring that, even during lockdown, he still has to work for his supper by hiding meat treats up the trees in his outdoor enclosure.

However the eight-year-old big cat, who was born at Longleat, is making it look easy when it comes to ensuring he receives the lion's share – even if it is squirrelled away more than three metres off the ground.

As part of the lions' environmental enrichment, keepers place food among the branches as it provides a good workout and allows them to use muscles required for hunting and grabbing hold of prey.

Lion King Harry goes out on a limb for treetop takeaway

“All lions are capable of climbing trees, but Harry is particularly good and makes it look deceptively effortless,” said Keeper Caleb Hall, who captured Harry's feat on film. “He's quite a character and very popular, both with his keepers and the other lionesses. He is strong, quick and there's no doubt he's king of his territory,” he said.

Lions have been living at Longleat since 1966 when it became the first place outside of Africa to open a drive-through safari.

Today it is home to two separate prides as well as cheetahs, tigers, wolves, rhinos, zebras and giraffes. Large male lions can grow to over three metres in length and weigh more than 240kgs while females are just under two metres long and reach a maximum of 180kgs. Their life expectancy in the wild is approximately 12 years but they can expect to live to almost twice that age in captivity.