At Lion Learners Educational Experiences, animal welfare is paramount. Living with our animals means we get to know their habits and personalities inside out, we can give them 100% of our dedication and recognise signs of distress or illness immediately. Our love for our animals will no doubt become obvious when you meet us as they are a large part of our lives, and all our animals live at home with us.
Animal Sources and Care:
Wherever possible, our animals have either been rescued from abandonment and neglect, or rehomed from people who can no longer care for them due to unforeseen circumstances.
We carefully pick the species we choose to share our lives with, to ensure that we are able to meet their needs. This is why you won’t find us travelling with animals such as meerkats or racoons.
We ensure the best possible enrichment for our animals through providing optimum levels of stimulation (novel, sensory, food, environmental and behavioural) to encourage and allow for natural behaviours and instincts.
Animals and People:
We ensure that only our animals who are happy to be around people will come out on visits with us. A good number of our animals will go through natural processes such as hibernation and shedding which means that throughout this period we will obviously not disturb the animals. It is these factors and careful decisions that dictate which animals accompany us.
The welfare of the animals comes first at all times. We talk to our customers beforehand about requirements regarding noise, numbers of people etc, and if a situation does become stressful for the animal, the animal/s will be removed from the situation.
We fully risk assess our events, and event organisers are made aware of the contents of our risk assessment, regarding the welfare of their visitors/students.
Animals and Travel
When accepting a booking, we will carefully consider the journey our animals will have to undergo. Each presenter is located in an area where we are confident they will have plenty of opportunity for bookings within an hour of their home. Animals do need to be placed in appropriate tanks/cages for travel to keep them safe, reptiles are moved in to larger enclosures on arrival, and rabbits and guinea pigs have a run set up. All animals have suitable enclosures at home, they do not live in these tanks!
Help When Needed
We never want our presenters to struggle looking after their animals for any reason, therefore there is always a home for any animal needing it, at our head office at South Angle Farm Park.
We would welcome more regulation of animal experience companies, and would be happy if licences were introduced to help regulate our industry. At present, presenters have Performing Animal Licences (in local authority areas where we are required to hold one).
Education about Animal Welfare:
Whilst delivering sessions about conservation, our aim is also to make people aware of the illegal wildlife trade and help them realise why so many animals end up neglected or abandoned.
Reasons for overly full rescue centres
Rescue centres are currently inundated with exotic animals as these ‘fashionable pets’ are quickly abandoned when people realise the dedication, knowledge, space, time and cost required to keep them. Recent trends to breed certain exotics (esp Bearded Dragons and Corn Snakes) has led to breeders giving them away for free and, due to the ignorance of those who accept them, many are neglected and/or end up in rescue centres.
The illegal wildlife trade
A huge crisis is the illegal trade of wildlife for use as pets. The constant flow of species taken from their natural habitats in unsustainable. As wild population numbers decline the commercial prices for these ‘rare commodities’ soar. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) prohibits or regulates certain species from international trade. However, the policing is extremely difficult and easily dodged with 100,000s of animals still being shipped to Pet Shops around the world.
So why choose Lion Learners?
Our priority is to educate people about the wonders of the animal kingdom and their habitats and the importance of animal welfare. We are not an organisation which exists for people to merely handle unusual animals.
We rescue/rehome animals whenever possible. We will take them in no matter what they look like. Does it really matter if our lizard is tailless or our tortoise is flat shelled? If anything, it is educational and really brings out the empathic side of people of all ages.
We live alongside our animals. Hence we have built up relationships enabling us to read happy and sad tell tail signs.
With animal welfare at the heart of the organisation we can find that educating and inspiring people about the wonders of wildlife extremely rewarding.