SCIENTISTS MANAGE TO GET CAPTIVE LIONS TO SNIFF LOVE HORMONE, OXYTOCIN
So oxytocin is one of those things I’ve heard of, but never remember what it is exactly. But this story will make it unforgettable! There’s recent news coming out of South Africa, where scientists got captive lions to sniff the love hormone. Yes, sniffed up their noses! They wanted to see if lions shared the common effect of oxytocin, if it would make the lions nicer to each other. And, well, not only did it work, it practically made them as mellow as kittens. I must say I could use a little bit of that about now.
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OXYTOCIN NOT ONLY WORKED, IT ALMOST MADE LIONS AS FRIENDLY AS KITTENS (SORT OF)
So how did they get the lions to sniff a drug? Well, subterfuge, of course. They lured the kings (and queens) of the jungle up to the fence of their enclosure with raw meat. So of course they came up. And when they did, they puffed the love hormone right into their noses. But the scientists were a little surprised that they could see the effects right away on the lions’ very faces. Their features relaxed almost instantly to calm, seconds after their normal, wrinkled angry mugs came up for the raw meat.
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CONSERVATIONISTS HOPE SUCCESS WITH OXYTOCIN WILL MAKE LION CONSERVATION EASIER, SAFER
So why are scientists eager to find out what the love hormone oxytocin does to lions? Well, conservation is the short answer. Lions’ natural territory gets smaller and smaller every day, month and year. So conservationists end up needing to introduce relocated lions to other, new lions all the time. But they are territorial and taciturn when they get stressed from change, putting their safety at risk. But with a little love hormone, relocations will be easier. And when the lions arrive, they will be more mellow and curious to meet other lions than angry and, well, violent.
Maybe next year some celebrities need a dose of this before entering the Oscar’s? Just a thought.