Bid Farewell to Akeelah and Jamela
Two NEW Zoo lions are leaving childhood behind and are ready to begin their new lives in Memphis.
NEW Zoo staff, volunteers and visitors have taken much joy in witnessing the growth and development of the young lions born in November of 2008. The memories of the cubs first steps into the outdoor exhibit, their delight in cuddling with their father, their amazement at the discovery of their first snowfall, and the absolute elation they show during an enthusiastic session of mud wrestling will not soon be forgotten. Carmen Murach, Curator of Animals at the NEW Zoo remarked, “It’s been wonderful to see the “cubs” grow and learn. These lions have such a range of personalities and watching them all interact has been fascinating. You can learn so much watching an entire pride of lions.”
Species Survival Program (SSP)
Two year old sisters, Akeelah and Jamela, are on the verge of taking the next step in their young lives. The Species Survival Program (SSP) for African Lions has determined the perfect placement for the girls. Zoo Director Neil Anderson will be escorting the lions to their new home at the Memphis Zoo later this month. There, they will be joined by a male lion from the Tulsa Zoo who has been selected as the perfect match for both females. “We were really happy to learn that the girls will stay together,” said Murach. “I’ve talked to staff at the Tulsa Zoo and I think this “arranged marriage” is going to work out very well – not only for the species as a whole, but for these cats in particular. Young male Thabo sounds like a wonderful cat and I think our girls are going to love him! Staff at the Memphis Zoo are very excited to receive these three much loved lions.”
NEW Zoo Selected As AZA SSP Breeding Facility
The NEW Zoo is fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in the Species Survival Program and to be selected as one of the few AZA breeding facilities for this species. Adult lions Shambe and Ajia are expected to produce another litter in the future. “It is immensely rewarding to be so closely involved with helping endangered species,” stated Murach. “Saying goodbye is always hard but it is a bit like watching your kids grow up and embark upon lives of their own. If you have done your job well, they are well adjusted and happy to face new adventures (not to mention that Memphis is a great place to visit!).”
The Lions Leave: March 21, 2011
The lions are scheduled to make the journey to their new home on 3/21/11. Their brother, Asani, will remain with his parents until arrangements are made for his transfer to the Buffalo Zoo later this spring.
Stop on out to the NEW Zoo and bid farewell to Akeelah and Jamela before they embark upon their journey to the place they soon call home.