On safari at the Lion Habitat MGM Grand (plus some misgivings)

On safari at the Lion Habitat MGM Grand (plus some misgivings)

There are lions at the MGM Grand hotel!! Real live lions! Not roaming around the casino floor but in a specially designed “Lion Habitat” in the casino.

The lions are apparently descendants from the original Leo The Lion who was MGM’s mascot – the lion you see roaring at the start of their movies. There are around 30 lions altogether, the majority being female and they actually live on a ranch just outside Las Vegas. Everyday, six or so lions are brought to the MGM where they spend the day prowling around their area. There’s a glass tunnel you can walk through so you can feel like you’re really getting close to the cats.

I was really excited to hear about the lions and was looking forward to seeing them, but I’ve got to say that it was a bit of a let down and I left feeling really quite sad.

Read why after the jump.

While I don’t doubt that no expense was spared in the development of the “habitat” I still can’t help but think that the animals would honestly rather be outside somewhere, hunting zebra and generally having nothing to do with mankind if they could avoid it. Instead, they’re placed somewhere where they have no privacy and have hundreds of people pressing their faces against the glass, desperate for a reaction from one of them. It made me think about the snake in the first Harry Potter book if I’m honest…

There are stories that the lions love their “habitat” so much that they don’t want to leave at the end of the day. Perhaps this is true. I’m sure they are treated as well as they can be, and MGM clearly state that the lions are there to be honoured and preserved, but I personally just question if such wild animals can be happy in captivity…

Still, if you’ve never seen a lion before – and you’d like to – this is a guaranteed chance to see a small pride together… but if you’re lucky enough to have seen lion before in the wild then this probably isn’t the thing for you. There’s something absolutely magnificent about seeing wild lion, not least because they’re so elusive, and seeing them padding around in a limited space behind thick glass just doesn’t have quite the same impact.

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