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New female lion gets a check up

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

One-year-old lion Adia recently arrived at the zoo to join our African Savanna exhibit, thanks to the leadership of Jungle Party 2010 Chairs Nancy and Rick Alvord. Last week, the young lion underwent a full physical examination by our animal health team. Such routine physicals give us essential baseline medical information for new animals including blood work, radiographs, and dental examination.

Adia, whose name means “gift” in Swahili, got a clean bill of health from her vets. The young lion weighed in at 150 pounds, around half the weight she is expected to grow into as an adult. She shows her young age in her fur as well—as a juvenile, Adia still has rosette-like spots on her fur, typical of lion cubs.

Thanks to the generous contributions of Karen L. Koon, our animal health team recently acquired a digital radiography machine that we were able to use during Adia’s exam. Taking baseline x-rays of a new animal is important in order to have a reference point when examining future x-rays. By going digital, we eliminated the time it takes to process, share and store x-ray images and were able to get immediate read outs that can be accessed again in the future with just a click. This also makes our radiographs easier to share with others, improving access to information for vets and animal health researchers across all Association of Zoos & Aquariums-accredited zoos.

After the exam, Adia was returned to her temporary housing at the zoo’s Animal Health Complex to complete the standard 30-day quarantine period. Having arrived here under a recommendation by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African lions, she will be paired for breeding with our 11-year-old male lion when she reaches sexual maturity next fall.

Species Survival Plans are cooperative breeding programs to help ensure genetic diversity and demographic stability in North American zoos. The zoo participates in 35 SSPs, which are administered by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Additionally, SSPs involve a variety of other collaborative conservation activities such as research, public education, reintroduction and field projects.

Next up for Adia? After clearing quarantine, she will be introduced gradually, starting this week, to the zoo’s award-winning African Savanna where she will rotate on exhibit with our resident lions.

Want to help support Woodland Park Zoo and our excellent animal health program? Text WPZ to 20222 to donate $5 to the zoo today. Messaging and data rates may apply. For details visit

Photos by Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo.