Interacting with ‘wild’ animals is a controversial topic. The problem is that when lions reach a certain age, they can become unpredictable and consequently dangerous, especially towards unfamiliar individuals. Tragically, there have been instances where animals were drugged for forced interaction, resulting in their abuse leading to death and even sale to commercial hunters. However, proponents argue that responsible lion captivity, supported by tourist revenue, significantly contributes to the conservation efforts for these magnificent creatures. Observing the well-treatment of lions and other animals at Casela Nature Parks in Mauritius strengthens this perspective.
During the walk, the lions enjoy their freedom to roam around, engage in playful interactions with one another, or simply relax. As a general rule, visitors maintain a distance and follow behind the lions, albeit often stumbling along. If an opportunity arises, visitors may have the chance to walk alongside the lions, interacting with them and offering gentle petting. Moreover, treats are used by the caretakers to motivate the lions, facilitating photo opportunities for the visitors
While these lions may not be wild, they still possess the capability to inflict serious harm upon humans. Thus, prior to the walk, visitors receive a through briefing on the necessary safety precautions to be followed during the adventure. For instances, it is advised to refrain from crouching down, as the lions might perceive individuals in such positions as potential playmates (or prey). Running should be avoided, as it could trigger the hunting instincts of the lions…
The sticks held by the rangers and visitors that appear in some of the photos do not serve as punishing devices. Instead, they are aids to help individuals maintain their balance if a lion were to jump on them.
Casela Nature Parks houses over 1,800 animals, including several endemic species to the island. In addition to the captivating experience of walking with lions, visitors have the chance to engage with various other animal species and embark on safaris using different types of vehicle. The park also provides a great selection of activities tailored for adrenalin junkies. All of these offerings are set within a beautiful natural environment.