TODAY

TODAY   |  January 21, 2014

Anchors get up close and personal with lion, fox

Brian Staples, zoologist and founder of Staples Safari Zoo, brings a few rescued animals to TODAY, including a lion cub and a Siberian fox.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> "today's" call of the wild . and remarkable animals. brian staples founder of staples zoo. we've got zac efron , michael b. jordan and miles teller.

>> he's done this before.

>> he seems chill with me.

>> doing great.

>> he's cool. we like to go out and --

>> he's your wing man? is that it?

>> watch this. give me high five. right here.

>> got grapes in his hands now. high five.

>> you're making it up.

>> he's putting him on the spot.

>> come here, wilson. give a high five.

>> yeah.

>> made it all worth it.

>> very nice. tell us about this first animal.

>> well, this is roree, a 14-week-old baby lion cub. isn't he great?

>> how did he get to you?

>> okay. so all of the animals in our program are secondhand or rescued animals. his mother developed mastitis where she wasn't able to feed and that happened over the christmas period. we helped out a local zoo and my zoo keepers took over the role of bottle feeding. so when he's good and healthy, he'll head back to the zoo.

>> how big will he get?

>> a big boy lion, probably close to 500 pounds.

>> roree's going crazy right now. no leash, no nothing.

>> what's to prevent him from jumping and running around the studio?

>> he doesn't know he can yet?

>> and i just said that out loud.

>> all of these games and things he's playing now, this is all skills he'll be developing to be a great hunter.

>> wow.

>> oh, this monkey, pickpocket.

>> i'm going to take the paper away so he doesn't eat it. as long as he doesn't eat me. what's the next rescued animal?

>> these spots will disappear, by the way.

>> oh, my.

>> good for you. what kind of fox is this?

>> okay. this is an amazing story. this is called a siberian fox.

>> oh, yeah. i was hoping --

>> this is how people should wear their furs.

>> how did you end up with this one?

>> there was a program that started in the late '50s in siberia, russia, would it be possible to breed the domesticated genes in a dog? they lost funding and we have thousands and thousands of these friendly foxes that think they should be a pet. it's posed a terrible problem. they don't know how to survive.

>> no one's going to get in what does the fox say joke?

>> go ahead.

>> an interesting smell, too?

>> right. there's a sad story that goes to the whole fox breeding thing for domestication. the scent there is what a lot of colognes are