While watching the video below of a freed circus lion getting to run free on real dirt and grass reminds me of my experiences photographing a 9 lion pride at the Oregon Zoo. Their outside environment had trees, boulders and a sloping hillside covered in lush green grass. When the groundskeepers chose to cut that grass the lions returned to an environment that actually caused them to play in the mown grass and clippings. They would romp and literally roll down the hill.
I miss my zoo and its wonderful collection of healthy, happy animals. I spent a lot of time getting to know each and every animal at the Oregon Zoo and can therefore testify that they lived happy, productive lives.