Two new African lionesses are now available for viewing at the Calgary Zoo.
The organization celebrated the public debut of their new furry friends – named Mali and Sabi – on Wednesday.
2 lions added to Calgary Zoo’s pride
Curator Dr. Malu Celli told Global News the animals came to the zoo on June 13, but have just made their first appearance at the outdoor lion habitat.
“The two girls are five and came to us from the Philadelphia Zoo where they were born,” Celli said. “Our two Baruti and Aslan will welcome female company.”
“Hopefully in the future we can talk about breeding and having cubs — for now we’re just focusing on introducing the boys and the girls and making sure they’re one happy pride.”
The lionesses haven’t yet met the male lions, as they need to first get comfortable in their new surroundings.
Celli admitted that introducing lions can “always be tricky.”
“We have decades upon decades of experience in our team, which is awesome, but it is something that has inherited risks,” Celli said. “We have to read behavior and take steps very slowly.”
“We might not do it all four together – we might do it one by one. We’ll have to let them dictate the pace.”
5 marmot pups born at the Calgary Zoo
Celli said the lionesses are currently on contraception.
“We really want to focus on just getting the pride together and introducing them to one-another – but they are in their prime, so we’ll see.”
According to the Calgary Zoo, the world African lion population has decreased by 50 per cent in the last 20 years due to loss of habitat.
They are currently classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN red list of threatened species.
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