Louisville Magazine

SEP 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

Issue link: https://loumag.epubxp.com/i/1019738

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ulgc.net 48 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 9.18 THE BIT He's realized that he's alone and he's desper- ately trying to find his partner." But if Kariba's keepers say she's fine, they'd know best, right? I email Craig Packer, the director of the Lion Research Center at the University of Minnesota. (In a post-Cecil New Yorker piece, Packer is described as a "hard-nosed pragmatist," someone who "does not think (lions) are morally admi- rable, kind, or possessed of a great wisdom inaccessible to modern man.") I ask Packer: Do lions mourn? His answer, in full: "I've never seen any evidence that adult lions mourn the death of other adults. e closest I've seen is at the disappearance of small cubs, when the moth- ers will search for them for varying periods, but once they 'decide' their cubs are dead, they get over it pretty much immediately. And if mothers find their dead cubs, they seem pretty much unmoved, sometimes even eating the carcasses." On a sticky summer day, with a thun- derstorm ready to crack from the sky, I head to the zoo in hopes of seeing Kariba. Siyanda lounges outside instead, under that squat shade tree, his large-as-Belgian-waffles paws dangling over a rock ledge. Mothers and children pause to acknowledge the new male lion, and three separate children at three different times loudly proclaim that the "dad lion" had died after falling off a cliff. Inaccurate, but nice to hear I'm not the only one educated by e Lion King. When Siyanda yawns, it reminds me of Pony, the way he'd stretch his mouth slow, wide and extended, only to snap it shut. He'd release a mighty yawn just before resting his head. e acute grief of Pony's death has passed. But I still miss him. For weeks after he passed, every morning, when it was still dark out, I'd strain my eyes in the gray light to search for his long body, as to not trip over him. And at night I'd head to unlock the back door so he could go to the yard. Humans usually have the space to mourn. e survival instinct in lions might not allow for a dip into grief. Too many threats to slow down for a cry. Kariba, perhaps, is obeying evolution. Hakuna matata, I guess. One day this summer, as I leave the zoo, I get a text from a friend. I tell her I'm at the zoo, writing about the lioness. She texts me back that she had recently seen Kariba: "She looked lonely."

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