In October, the cubs experienced a new food. We gave them horse knuckle bones for the first time, which were a huge hit. As we have mentioned in previous updates, carcass feedings like these are a key component to the cubs’ health, as they help strengthen their jaw muscles and aid in the digestive process. These feedings are also part of our nutrition and enrichment programs. The cubs really enjoyed chewing on the horse knuckle bones and were kept busy for quite a while.
We are working with the cubs to get consistent, weekly weights to monitor their growth and development. At their most recent weigh-in, males Jabari and Hasani tipped the scales between 46 and 48 pounds, while male Erindi and female Amabala weighed in around 44 pounds.
As part of our positive reinforcement program, the cubs receive their favorite foods — beef blood and meatballs — as a reward for participating in voluntary training sessions with keepers. This enables them to take part in their own health care and build relationships with their keepers. Since our update over the summer, the cubs have learned that they will get a treat for getting on the scale. Now, they are learning to get off the scale.