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Homecoming King: Tandie returns home to Woodland Park Zoo!

Posted by Craig Newberry, Communications

We are thrilled to announce the homecoming of male lion, Tandie, who will turn 8 on October 24. He was born here at Woodland Park Zoo in 2014 to parents Adia and Xerxes. And now Tandie, which means “fire,” has returned home to Seattle after living at Oakland Zoo since 2016.

Welcome home! Tandie will turn 8 years old on October 24. Photo: Courtesy of Oakland Zoo

Tandie is known for being a thoughtful, smart lion. He is affectionate, displays calm dominance behaviors and we're told he enjoys eating a variety of meat and blood popsicles. Right now he is acclimating to his new home in the behind the scenes areas—getting acquainted with (and in some cases, re-acquainted with) his animal keepers—but you should be able to see him on the public side of the lion habitat very soon.

Tandie and his brothers were the most adorable trio of cubs (seen here in 2014). Photo: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

Tandie’s arrival at the zoo is particularly exciting because he is the offspring of the zoo’s beloved Xerxes who sadly was humanely euthanized in February 2022 due to age-related kidney failure. “We are overjoyed that Tandie is coming home. Xerxes will always have a special place in our hearts and having one of his cubs return to Woodland Park Zoo is truly remarkable. Tandie has such a bright future here and we look forward to getting to know him better,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo.

Tandie, seen here as a cub in 2015 with his brothers and father, is the offspring of our beloved male Xerxes and female Adia. Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

Tandie will live in our African Savanna lion habitat with female Ilanga, 5. Currently, there are no breeding recommendations between Tandie and Ilanga, but their pairing will provide each lion with social interaction that is important for this species.

The two lions 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.

Tandie and his brothers were curious and playful youngsters (seen here at 5 months old in 2015). Photo: Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo

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, which 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.