Lion cub raised in living room leaves home

Malor has lived at home with a zookeeper in the Eifel mountains for the last five months. Now the little lion cub is about to be reintroduced to his mother.

Lion cub raised in living room leaves home
Zookeeper Isabelle Wallpott with Malor. Photo: DPA

“He has turned from a tiny little baby lion into a big cat. You can see it and you notice it,” said Isabelle Wallpott, the director of Eifel Zoo in Rhineland-Palatinate, who has been looking after the cub since his mother rejected him at birth.

Now five months old and weighing in at 5 kilos, Malor drinks a couple of bottles of milk a day and polishes of around 1.5 kilograms of meat.

“He thinks for himself now,” says Walpott, explaining that he is constantly testing his boundaries.

But except for a couple of scratches, the zookeeper herself hasn't been on the receiving end on anything too sharp.

Malor's arrival into the world came as something of a surprise to the zookeepers in Eifel. No one had noticed that the lioness Lira was pregnant.

Zookeepers found the cub weak and motionless in Lira's enclosure and rescued it when they noticed its mother wasn't looking after it. Walpott then took it upon herself to raise him.

Gallery: Watch Malor grow from cub into big cat

But in the late summer the zookeeper will slowly reintroduce the young cat to its natural mother.

At first malor will be put in an enclosure next to his mother for an hour or two a day so that the two felines can sniff each other and become accustomed to one another's company.

The rest of the time the little cub will still spend with the zookeeper. But this heartwarming partnership of woman and beast is coming to an end.

“In October the cord needs to be cut,” said Wallpott.

By the end of the year she hopes to have Malor living full-time in an enclosure with Lira.

In the meantime Wallpott has been taking Malor into the zoo for short 'meet and greets' with the public.

Thousands of people have already come to gaze at the little cub, she says.

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Germany’s Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’

Germany's Scheffelbrücke might not seem like much to look at, but by some accounts it is the most expensive bridge in the world. Here’s what you need to know.

Germany's Scheffelbrücke: Everything you need to know about the ‘world’s most expensive bridge’
The Scheffelbrücke in Baden-Württemburg isn't known for its astounding beauty or engineering prowess - but it is known for its price tag. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

If you’re travelling near the Swiss border, you might come across the Scheffelbrücke – a quiet, two-lane bridge over the Radolfzeller Aach in Baden-Württemburg. 

By bridge standards, the 20-metre concrete construction seems relatively unremarkable – until you take a look at the engraved sign on the side which quotes the price tag. 

A sign on the bridge references the incredible price of the bridge: 1,520,940,901,926,024 Deutschmarks. 

That’s 1,500 trillion marks. 

Why is the Scheffelbrücke Germany’s most expensive bridge – and why is it so drab?

While Germany has the money and the landscape to have some expensive bridges, that over the Aach hardly rivals the Golden Gate, London Bridge or Sydney Harbour for elegance or ingenuity. 

The bridge, completed in 1923, takes the name of Joseph Victor von Scheffel, a German writer who will forever be associated with the glorified concrete slab. 

While one might suspect pork barrelling or crafty accounting as a reason for the astonishing cost – or perhaps a trick to reel in the tourists to the otherwise unassuming village of Singen – the cost is in fact real.

The high price is a consequence of the out of control post-World War One inflation which hit Germany, where money almost completely lost its value. 

A sign for the bridge reveals its extortionate building costs. Photo: Heinz Seehagel, Creative Commons.

Local authorities, wanting to boost the economy, signed off on the bridge as an infrastructure project. 

As a consequence, some local workers presumably became millionaires as a consequence – although there was perhaps little meaning to the idea of being a millionaire when a billion would only buy you a concrete bridge. 

Fortunately, Germany was able to bring inflation under control and wheelbarrows full of money were no longer required to purchase basic things.

And almost a century later, when not taking wacky inflation into account, Germany’s ‘most expensive bridge in the world’ no longer has that title. 

That goes to the Oakland Bay Bridge in San Francisco (no, not the Golden Gate but the other one), which cost 6.3 billion US dollars – or roughly 5.2 billion euro  – to build. 

The Oakland Bay Bridge however goes for eight kilometres and possesses some of the aesthetic qualities which one would expect from the most expensive bridge in the world.