World Cup reaches zoo

Caretakers at Ramat Gan Safari perform special activity for lions with soccer ball, leading to fascinating results.

Mordechai Sones ,

Feline soccer league
Feline soccer league
Elad Hershkowitz

World Cup opening celebrations also reached the Ramat Gan Safari when caretakers decided to create a special enrichment activity for lions in the spirit of international sport celebrations.

Enrichment activities are intended to sharpen and activate the animals' senses, and especially to enhance their natural instincts by creating various stimuli.

This time, caretakers decided to leave them in the open with a soccer ball, and although they guessed what would happen next, they waited in anticipation.

Eight-year-old Samburu, one of the oldest and most revered lionesses, is known for her passion for soccer and how she enjoys kicking and following the ball. Although lions are not usually active and they sleep between 18-20 hours a day, caretakers say this is a true footballer who, relative to the rest of the lions, barely tires and could carry the banner of world feline championship.

The mischievous lioness is always first to explore new objects in the yard and her favorite, after raw meat, is undoubtedly the soccer ball.

Other lions who tried to put their foot on the ball found the task difficult and almost impossible. Samburu kept control of the ball and did not let go.