Expect big crowds at Utah’s Hogle Zoo tomorrow for the debut of four new felines not seen at the zoo in a decade.
Lions, 3-year-old brothers Baron and Vulcan and 2-year-old sisters Sela and Nabu, just moved in. The boys came from Montgomery Zoo in Alabama, while the girls hail from Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. Both arrived in via road trip and are adjusting to their new environment in the zoo’s new African Savanna area.
Currently, the boys and girls are in separate enclosures. “Once we get them acquainted, the full pride will be on display together,” says Erica Hansen, community relations coordinator for the zoo. “We would love some cubs.” Even though she’s seen signs of them getting along through the fence, Zookeeper Valerie Schubert says it’s not safe to enclose the lions together just yet. “The males, at this age, are inclined to kill the females,” says Schubert, who expects it to take about a year.
Zookeeper Tonya Matelski, who primarily works with Vulcan, has already seen the differences in personality between the boys. Vulcan is moody like a teen boy, while Baron is more relaxed, but she’s seen signs that Baron might become the alpha. You can tell the difference between the lions by Vulcan’s blonder fur and slender tail.
Zookeeper Tonya Matelski feeding lion Vulcan and checking his health.
The lions are fed 13 pounds of food per day. Their diet mainly consists of horse meat mixed with vitamins and supplements, which is pretty close to what they’d eat in the wild.
Later this month, the rest of the African Savanna will open with a grasslands area featuring zebras, giraffes, nyalas, ostriches and about two dozen guineafowl. Guests will be able to ride a train around the enclosures and see the giraffes eye to eye in a new outdoor space.
The 4.5-acre African Savanna is the last project funded by the Renew the Zoo bond put in place in 2008.
See the lions for yourself by picking up a coupon for a free kids ticket with the purchase of an adult ticket at Les Schwab locations.