The lion house at the San Francisco Zoo opened at 1:00 yesterday, and I went in there to stare down a lion.
The lion's name is "Jahari," meaning "strong and brave." The seven-year-old weighs 550 pounds, one of the largest lions in captivity.
According to his trainer, Debbie Marrin-Towey, he likes the game of intimidating visitors. He was hand-raised, fed by a bottle as a cub, so he is particularly fascinated by humans.
Ms. Marrin-Towey told me it was time for Jahari's snack. She checked that all the doors were securely locked, and then sprayed some milk on a dead rabbit and placed it in his outdoor enclosure. Jahari's eyes stopped watching the nervous movements of my watercolor pencils, and followed her instead.
After what happened here three years ago, I'm glad the cage was well secured.
2007 fatal tiger attack
San Franciso Zoo
Previously on GJ: Gorilla Portraits