May 15, 2013
Our young lion John is growing up and moving on! Early Tuesday morning he left the National Zoo for his new home at the Cincinnati Zoo.
The Cincinnati Zoo was chosen for him based on a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan. When John and his brothers and sisters were born in 2010, they were the most genetically valuable African lion cubs in North America. Now he will continue to help keep the population of lions in human care genetically diverse. John was named after former Zoo director John Berry, who was instrumental in helping the Zoo build its lion pride.
John now weighs 380 pounds and is taller at the shoulder than his father Luke. Luke and John have been on exhibit together for much of the past few months since Aslan and Baruti left the Zoo for Calgary. Luke has been very tolerant of John and the two have gotten along well, but keepers have been separating them in preparation for John’s move.
To ensure the move goes as smoothly as possible, keepers have been working with John, training him to sit in his travel crate. He has had access to his travel crate over the past few weeks, allowing him to get comfortable with it. One of our lion keepers and our curator of Great Cats traveled with John to his new home. After John has settled in they will return, and keepers will work on many of the same things with females Lelie and Lusaka in preparation for their move to a new home.