The Nation: Lion in Wait

Like many others, the Children's Zoo in Des Moines has had a serious vandalism problem. There is no money to hire a night watchman, and trespassers have broken in to cut off a cougar's ear, steal a trained hawk and release penned deer. Director Robert Elgin finally worked out an ingenious way to police the grounds at no cost: let Becky do it. Becky is a 180-lb. lioness.

The idea is not so sanguinary as it sounds. Becky has been trained as a "wrestling lion": she neither bites nor uses her claws. Her parents were used some years back to protect the...

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