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Good luck Kamaria! Au revoir!

 Posted by Craig Newberry, Communications

For three years, female African lion Kamaria has delighted guests alongside her twin sister Ilanga here at Woodland Park Zoo, but now it’s time for the 5-year-old lioness to set forth on a new international journey and possibly start a family of her own.

Zoo guests are invited to come bid Kamaria adieu before she departs to Zoo de Granby in Quebec. The last day to see Kamaria is October 17.

African lion Kamaria, on left, expresses a moment of tenderness with her twin sister, Ilanga, with Xerxes in the background at Woodland Park Zoo. Kamaria will move to Zoo de Granby in Quebec to be paired with a new mate. Oct. 17 is the last day to see Kamaria. (Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo)

Kamaria and Ilanga arrived at Woodland Park Zoo in 2019 under a breeding recommendation with male lion Xerxes. Breeding was never successful due to changing dynamics in the group as the sisters matured, and sadly the geriatric Xerxes was humanely euthanized this past February due to kidney failure. The African Lion Species Survival Plan, a breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of lions, has now recommended Kamaria be introduced to a potential new mate at Zoo de Granby.

While it is always bittersweet to see any animal leave, Kamaria’s animal keepers are confident she will continue to thrive and adapt quickly to her new home, mate and keepers.

“Kamaria is playful and inquisitive and always ready to interact with her animal keepers,” said Lead Animal Keeper Christine Anne. “Kamaria amazed me with the joy she showed playing in the water in the exhibit, chasing ducks and dunking her enrichment items. I hope her future holds lots of relaxing pride life. She will be missed by all her keepers.”

The sisters enjoy a snow day in 2021. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

It is not uncommon for mature lions—males or females—to separate from their pride. Meanwhile, a new male lion will arrive this week and will live with Ilanga in the zoo’s African Savanna habitat. There is no breeding recommendation for the two lions currently, but the pairing will provide each lion with social interaction that is important for this species.

Kamaria and Ilanga are a South African lion subspecies, Panthera leo krugeri, known as the Transvaal lion. The South African lion subspecies ranges in Southern Sahara to South Africa in grassy plains, savanna and open woodlands, excluding the Congo rain forest belt. These lions range in weight from 260 to more than 400 pounds.

In 2015, two African lion subspecies were listed under the Endangered Species Act due to a dramatic 40% decline in the wild population over the last 20 years. As few as 20,000 to 23,000 African lions are estimated to remain in the wild and their future remains uncertain, particularly as the growth in human population continues to impact lion populations through loss of habitat. There also is retaliatory killing of lions because they pose a threat to humans and livestock.

Woodland Park Zoo partners with and supports the Lion Landscapes program in and around Ruaha National Park; the program is protecting as much as 10% of the remaining population of wild lions in their landscape. The program continues to add members and focuses on reducing the key threat of human-carnivore conflict in the Ruaha landscape. 

Au revoir, Kamaria!

The pride in March 2020. Photo by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo


Anonymous said…
Why are you separating a bonded pair? Is breeding them really worth the trauma? I work at a cat rescue and know that separating a bonded pair is traumatic for them. I'm a zoo member but I can't support this.