I came away from Safari Adventures’ Walk with Lions Encounter with decidedly mixed feelings. I thought I had read somewhere on the TripAdvisor forums for Mauritius that the animals were doped up so as not to attack visitors; while the pair of lions we walked with were indeed uncharacteristically lethargic, I can’t say whether or not this is true. What I can say is that I was more than a bit troubled by the very visible wounds on these otherwise majestic creatures—and looking at these photos again makes me regret doing the encounter in the first place.
The whole walk is orchestrated into a series of photo opps—and the park employees seemed all too happy to capture photos and video of their star attractions with very apparent (albeit treated) cuts and abrasions. I asked one of the trainers about their condition; his shrugged-off reply: “Maybe they had an itch and rubbed too hard against a fence…”
I’ve no idea if it’s abuse, neglect, or some combination of both, but these animals just didn’t seem healthy to me. Lions are, of course, not at all indigenous to Mauritius. If seeing them roam free in their native habitat is what you’re looking for you won’t find that here; for the sake of the these poor animals I recommend spending your money somewhere else.