The Belly Of The Beast


[Paradise Valley Springs, New Zealand; June 3. Image via Splash]

Three-month-old lion cub Chase – who has been hand-reared by two small children in their house in New Zealand. The cub, who was the only one in the litter, had to be separated from his mother Luca at two weeks of age when her milk dried up. The lion cub is being bottle fed a special milk formula by five-year-old Aliya and her three-year-old brother Ryan. He gets trough two litres a day of his special milk feed – made up of kitten and puppy formula, eggs and liquid calcium. The cub, which was born at the Paradise Valley Springs wildlife park near Rotorua, now weighs 12 kilos and is putting on a kilo a week. He loves tummy rubs, his favourite toys are old shoes and he joins in when the adult lions are roaring – but it’s high-pitched and sound like a yelp. He was initially allowed free roam of the children’s house, slept on beanbags and curled up in front of the fireplace. He spent the day with them at the house and inside a special enclosure near the adult lions at night, to help him bond with them. “”He still loves sucking your thumb – he just sticks it between his teeth and sucks away gently,” the children’s father – and manager of the park – Hayden Sanders said. “It’s been like having a newborn baby in the house. He was being demand fed from 7am till 1am the next day – eight bottles of milk. We even had to burp him after giving him a bottle and had to help train him to go to the toilet.

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