Pittsburgh Zoo Welcomes Two Male Lion Cubs to the Pride

400 Pound Two Year Olds Roar thru the Zoo!
(Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium has new male lion cubs)

Media Opportunity
Meet the male lion cubs
Thursday, September 29, at 10:30 a.m.
Meet at the Education Complex

(Pittsburgh) (Sept. 27, 2011)—The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium’s lion family has nearly doubled in size since two-year-old brothers Ajani and Razi arrived in August from the Virginia Zoological Park. This Saturday, they will officially meet our visitors. 

The two males weigh close to 400 pounds each. “They are so enormous they make Mhina, Shiba, and Kaidi, our adult female lions, look tiny,” says Kathy Suthard, lead carnivore keeper. “But they still act like cubs. They play and chase each other around. We can’t wait to hear them roar to announce their arrival when they get outside.”

“It will take about two more years for them to get a complete mane,” says Ms. Suthard. “Right now, they look scruffy, like a young man trying to grow in a beard. It takes awhile.”

Ajani and Razi spent time behind-the-scenes getting to know their new keepers, new home, and our female lions. They may be brothers, but have they very distinct personalities. Ajani is confident and the first to explore and investigate new things. Razi, on the other hand, likes to watch first before he decides if he wants to join or not.

The future for Ajani and Razi looks bright. “We hope that they will be the foundation for a new family of lions here in the future,” says Ms. Suthard. “For 20 years, with the exception of Shiba, we have housed lions that were confiscated from the pet trade. They were very fortunate to have found such a good home with us. Most pet lions do not fare as well.” Our new males are pure bred which means that their blood lines can be traced back to a distinct region of Africa. These new males will have the opportunity to breed once they reach maturity.  We will bring in pure bred females from other institutions for this purpose. The next decade of lions here will, with luck, include cubs that will reflect that pure African lion bloodline and its continuance into the future. 

In the wild, both males and females live together in groups called prides. But here our current lions won’t be together in the same space. Our eldest female Shiba, lost her longtime companion, Juma, earlier this year and now prefers to be on her own. 11-year-old girls Kaidi and Mhina have never lived with other lions. Ajani and Razi will take turns being in the lion yard with Shiba, Kaidi, and Mhina.