I am pleased to report that Koza, our six-week-old lion cub who is being raised at the Wild Animal Park’s Animal Care Center, now has a buddy! In previous blog entries I mentioned the possibility of aquiring a canine companion for our little lion, as he has no littermates to play with. Lions are very social animals and it was decided that another social animal would provide the closest match to life in a normal lion pride.
Koza’s new buddy is a female Italian mastiff (also known as a cane corso) puppy named Cairo, who was located through Operation K9 Rescue, a San Diego-based non-profit rescue organization specializing in American bulldogs and rare mastiffs. Cairo’s mother was evacuated from New Orleans to San Diego after hurricane Katrina, where she gave birth to three puppies. Operation K9 Rescue saved more than 60 dogs from Katrina.
Several factors were considered when choosing Koza’s playmate. We needed a breed that would be large and sturdy, and have an even but not overly submissive temperment. We also were committed to rescuing a dog from a shelter or rescue society. Little Cairo fits the bill perfectly. She is reddish brown and has the typical wrinkly mastiff face and is quite the looker!
As of now the two buddies are housed next to each other while Cairo completes a quarantine period, to be sure she is healthy – then – look out! I think we can expect some extremely energetic play sessions when these two get together. I know what everybody is going to ask for – photos! I will get some posted ASAP. Something to look forward to!
Marcia Redding is a senior mammal keeper at the Wild Animal Park.
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