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Lion looking at camera

Paws-itively adorable! Photo by Naples Zoo.

The three lion brothers have arrived! 

Our animal care team is working hard to ensure the trio’s comfort in their new habitat and behind-the-scenes night house. If all continues to go well, they will officially be visible to the public on Sunday, May 1 in their habitat in our Wild Florida loop (a temporary home until their permanent habitat is built in Expedition Africa).  

We know how excited everyone is to see the lion boys. Thankfully, we will be their home for quite some time, so everyone will get the chance to “meet” them!  

To get you even more excited about our lions (like that’s possible, right?), we’ll be sharing more about the trio, the preparation to bring them here, and the logistics behind their move on our blog over the next few days. Read on to learn more about the history of the handsome brothers.  

The Happiest of Birthdays 

Three lion cubs

Our brothers as young cubs. Photo by Naples Zoo.

Our young lions were born May 14, 2019, to first-time mom Shani and her mate, Masamba, at Naples Zoo. This was the first time lion cubs had been born at Naples Zoo in over 30 years. Shani and Masamba were recommended to breed starting in 2013, making this long-awaited birth even more special. 

The parents were matched by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). SSPs recommend animal pairings with the goal of ensuring healthy, genetically diverse animal residents in AZA-accredited zoos. 

Brevard Zoo and Naples Zoo’s commitment to following the lion SSP led us to work together to give the lion brothers a new home.

In their natural range, male cubs would remain with their pride until they are around 2-3 years old. At that point they leave to form a new pride or take over an existing one. The SSP is able to help replicate this natural behavior. This move allows their parents to possibly breed again and gives the trio a home until they are also paired with potential mates.  

Pairing Zoo animals isn’t just important for ensuring healthy animals in our facilities, however. Every Zoo birth is a safeguard against the extinction of their species. African lions are classified as vulnerable to extinction. Overall lion numbers continue to decline due to illegal hunting, decreases in the populations of lion prey and habitat loss. Our Zoo is committed to helping lions not only in AZA-accredited facilities, but in their natural range as well. Partnering with the nonprofit Lion Landscapes has allowed us to do this while also following our mission to share our joy of nature to help wildlife and people thrive.  

Thank you to Naples Zoo and their team for their care of the trio and for preparing them for this major move!

And thank you, our Zoo supporters, for your trust during the process of bringing lions to our Zoo, and your patience as we continue to help the trio get used to their new digs.  

Read on to learn more on how we built the ideal habitat for lions!  

Brevard Zoo is an independent, not-for-profit organization that receives no recurring government funding for our operating costs. Your generous support enables us to continue to serve our community and continue our vital animal wellness, education and conservation programs.