Li­on­ess pair pride of zoo

The West Australian - - NEWS - Peter de Krui­jff

A pair of li­on­ess sis­ters from Dubbo have taken pride of place at Perth Zoo as fu­ture mothers for a new breed­ing pro­gram.

Three-year-old li­ons Makeba and Uzuri ar­rived out west on Hal­loween and were un­veiled to the pub­lic yes­ter­day.

The sis­ters are set­tling into their new sur­round­ings — af­ter an eight-hour drive from Dubbo to Syd­ney and a cross-coun­try flight — at the re­de­vel­oped lion ex­hibit which was up­graded in two stages at a cost of $3.4 mil­lion.

Perth Zoo zo­ol­ogy ex­otics su­per­vi­sor Ric Dun­lop said two sec­tions of the en­clo­sure were blocked off from each other to prevent the new ad­di­tions in­ter­act­ing with 19-year-old res­i­dent lion Shinyanga.

“Shinyanga can’t be put in with the two girls be­cause of the so­cial struc­ture; all prides are made up of mothers, aun­ties, sis­ters and daugh­ters and un­re­lated males, so to bring an­other fe­male in is not a good sit­u­a­tion,” he said.

In the wild li­ons only live about 10 to 14 years; how­ever, in cap­tiv­ity their lifes­pan can ex­pand be­yond 20 years.

The zoo pre­vi­ously had a pair of male li­ons, Nel­son and Man­dela but Shinyanga had gone past the age of hav­ing cubs when they ar­rived.

Pic­ture: Sharon Smith

Bree Mad­dox with her chil­dren Char­lie, 2, and Max, 3, ad­mire new ar­rival three-year-old Makeba.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.