Captive-bred cubs are cared for by a human handler from three weeks old. Cubs at this age will hide out in the same way that wild cubs will do, using the safe housing designed for them, and coming out to suckle and play when their surrogate mother returns. It is through this constant interaction with their handler that the cubs gain confidence in their “mother” meaning they will have the confidence to follow their “mother” into the African Bush to experience their natural habitat.
The cubs are taken out on their first walks around the age of six-weeks-old; they are easily frightened and rely on the handler for a sense of safety. Shortly after other handlers are introduced to the cubs to simulate a wild mother introducing her cubs to the rest of her pride, but the surrogate mother is always present to give the cubs the security they need.