From sunny summer days with the family to awkward teenage dates, we’ve all spent some pretty special times at The Calgary Zoo. This week, The Calgary Zoo's two new lionesses who are beautiful, majestic, a little bit frightening, and everything we ever could have imagined.
After hearing that two brand new lionesses arrived at the Calgary Zoo, we had to learn more. Narcity spoke to Colleen Baird, General Curator of The Calgary Zoo, to get the scoop on these female lions.
Baird explained to Narcity that the zoo previously put out a request for female lions, "We have a program called S.S.P., the Species Survival Program, and they have a database within North America of all the genetic lions. The S.S.P. matches up different lions to come to different zoos that could breed in the future to help keep diversity in the genetics."
Colleen Baird told Narcity that The Calgary Zoo is interested in eventually breeding their two new females. "We’d like to participate in the conservation of breeding and furthering the genetics," she explained.
The zoo’s two new female lions, Mali and Sabi, were introduced to their new home on Wednesday, August 7, 2019. The pair journeyed from the Philadelphia Zoo on a cargo plane back on June 13. Though, they needed to undergo quarantine up until Wednesday before being introduced to the public.
The lionesses are five years old and we love them already. Mali and Sabi will be introduced to their pride’s male lions, Baruti and Aslan, once they’ve acclimated to their new home, explained The Calgary Zoo in a Facebook Post.
"We have two male lions right now, they’re brothers. And these two girls are sisters," Baird told us. "We’ve had females and males here at The Calgary Zoo for many years. Our two oldest females passed away over the past two years. So, we have these wonderful boys who are here and it was time to bring the girls back," she continued.
Though they haven't formally met the male lions, they definitely know they're there, said Colleen Baird. “They are in the lion habitat now. The males and females are rotating. They have seen each other lots, they’re very interested in each other. The females are also still exploring getting used to their surroundings. They know the boys are there and they’re interested, but they also have a lot of other things to think about," she told us.
A Facebook post also stated “We are fortunate to have an exceptional Animal Care team with substantial experience introducing big cats safely and successfully. Progressing through the comprehensive introduction plan they have created is a matter of the behaviours we’ll see and not a timeline.” How sweet is that? Let the lions progress in their new home on their own time.
Calgary Zoo explained that Mali and Sabi may not be visible at all times during the coming weeks while they work with the lionesses on their introduction process.
They're also hosting adults-only Jumanji-themed parties after hours during the month of August, so this would be a great time to check out Mali and Sabi.
We are over the moon about the opportunity to go check out these beautiful creatures. See you at the zoo!