Kiwi is settling in to her new home in the Laurel Highlands.
The 6-month-old African lion cub was acquired two months ago from a privately-owned zoo in Florida and soon will help replenish what now will be a pride of five lions at Nemacolin Woodlands.
“She has the run of the place when there are no guests here,” Nemacolin director of activities Mandy Burnsworth said as Kiwi entertained a crew from the Herald-Standard.
“The place” is the animal nursery at Nemacolin’s Wildlife Adventure, just off Route 40, where visitors can interact with 150 animals, from a dog sledding team and horses to a host of exotic creatures. It is part of a long list of adventures found at the resort, and in turn includes a Wildlife Academy dedicated to providing interactive entertainment and live animal programs with an emphasis on education.
“Our main goal here is to educate guests on conservation of all these exotic animals, preserving these animals for years to come,” Burnsworth said of a lineup that includes Kiwi, as well as a white tiger, a sacred white buffalo and an Asian fishing cat.
“There are not too many of them,” Burnsworth said of the latter, a breed of cat that numbers 256 worldwide, 68 in the United States, according to the Big Cat Rescue charity, with a weight between 13 and 26 pounds.