Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Getting to know each other

The arrival of Simba into the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi caused a great deal of excitement, not least for Bella the resident lioness.

Although Simba had to under go a short quarantine period, from 6th March 2014 the two lions were housed next to each other and the sound and scent of the new male certainly had Bella’s attention.

She appeared very excited at his arrival and spent a great deal of time sniffing the air and looking in his direction, although she could not see him her instincts told her exactly where he was.

After he had settled in and all requirements were met the next move was to let them meet each other through the dividing fence. This was done by keeping him in his night quarters and allowing her out into his enclosure where they were able to interact through the wire fence.

Initially she was very aggressive towards him and slammed at the fence with her paw, he on the other hand was totally laid back and although interested in her presence totally ignored her aggression.


The next day the animals were put into the same situation but the outcome was totally different. She became very flirty and rolled on her back in a very friendly way. This was the reaction we wanted so we felt more optimistic that the animals would be compatible and sometime soon be able to be put together.

At this time the cats have been allowed access to each other, albeit with a dividing fence, every day, and the signs are good that a full integration will be possible in the near future. We just have a few more things to do to try and test their compatibility and then if all goes to plan we will attempt the introduction.

The one thing that has already come from this situation is that both Bella and Simba have now started to show normal lion behaviour - which particularly in Simba’s case is probably the first time in his life.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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