Lions trained to chase by robots

Lions living in captivity in the Blair Drummond Safari Park located near Stirling in Scotland are trained to hunt by a robot. The 'LionDrover' is an all terrain vehicle disguised as a zebra. But except if lions are affected by very strong myopia, I don't know how they could think it's a real one...

I guess that lions living in Africa don't need to be stimulated to learn how to chase prey. But apparently, it's a different story for the lions living in captivity in the Blair Drummond Safari Park located near Stirling in Scotland. In a recent article, BBC News reports that lions are trained to hunt by a robot. The 'LionDrover' is an all terrain vehicle disguised as a zebra. But except if lions are affected by very strong myopia, I don't know how they could think it's a real one even if it can move at a speed of 30 kph. But read more...

In a very unusual way, the BBC article starts like a press release.

Experts behind a pioneering device aiming to give lions in captivity the thrill of hunting their prey are hoping to put it into production.

But the LionDrover, which was designed by students from Strathclyde University's department of Design, Manufacture & Engineering Management will never be a mass production root. So far, only six units may be built.

And you can understand why by looking at the pictures below. Lions seem confused by this robotic device. (Credit: KNBC TV, Los Angeles)

Lions looking at the LionDrover

Lions puzzled by the LionDrover

These two pictures have been picked from a short article published by KNBC TV, Los Angeles, "Robot Helps Lions Learn To Chase Prey" (October 17, 2006). You'll find there a short but very funny movie of lions chasing -- or looking at -- the LionDrover.

The LionDrover was not the first robot used to play with the lions of the Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park. Here is a link to the adventures of the Lion Rover (September 8, 2004).

Sources: BBC News, October 9, 2006; and various websites

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