Lions Celebrate Birthdays at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Izu, an African Lion, turned 9 years old

By Monica Garske
|  Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012  |  Updated 8:56 PM PDT
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San Diego's Cutest Critters

Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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A nine-year-old African lion named Izu celebrated his 9th birthday at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Wednesday, complete with cake and special party guests.

According to zoo reps, Izu and two other female lions rang in their birthdays together.

Their joint birthday bash included three individual birthday cakes that took a month to create, as well as cardboard animal guests – including a zebra and pelican – scented with the smells of real animals.

Izu, pictured above, investigated the scented zebra during his party.

Zoo reps said the celebration was designed to provide the adult lions with enrichment items to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Scientists from the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research use enrichment activities like this to examine animal preferences and ensure the needs of the animals are being met.
 

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