November 26, 2008

The kids grow up so fast!
Two of Zoo's lion cubs leaving home

Mom, Elsa, kept watch while three of her cubs napped in June

Two male Transvaal lion cubs born at the Racine Zoo will leave on Friday, Nov. 28, for the Miami Metro Zoo in Florida. The two males, Jabari and Kwame, are part of the Pride of Racine litter of four born to Elsa and her mate, Aslan, on Sept. 6, 2007.

“While we are certainly sad to see them go, we knew that space was going to be a future issue when Elsa gave birth to four happy, healthy cubs and the moves are in accordance with our mission to foster the growth and development of threatened animal populations,” said Jay Christie, the Zoo's president and CEO.

The lion moves are a result of the recommendations of the Lion Species Survival Plan managed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, of which the Racine Zoo is a member. The Species Survival Plan program began in 1981 as a cooperative population management and conservation program for selected species in zoos and aquariums in North America. Each survival plan manages the breeding of a species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Elsa and Aslan will remain at the Racine Zoo indefinitely, while the remaining two members of the Pride of Racine, Bomani, a male, and Kya, a female, will be moved to other institutions in the future. A gift from Johnson Bank, Elsa and Aslan were brought to the Zoo in November 2005 with the intent that they would breed.

Meanwhile, in other Zoo news, the two female zebras recently acquired from the Glen Oak Zoo in Peoria, are now out of quarantine and on exhibit in place of the black rhinos who are often indoors during winter avoiding the cold weather. One is a 25-year-old Grant’s zebra, while the other is a 4-year-old Damara zebra. This is the first time the Racine Zoo has had zebras in the collection for 26 years. More on the zebras (and how to tell them apart) HERE.

More on the Zoo's summer babies here.

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