Rolling Hills Zoo will soon have a new family in its collection of animals. According to the zoo, a new lion pride will soon be moving in.
This pride is coming from Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago on the recommendation of the African Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP), a collaborative effort among Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) – accredited institutions.
The pride will include 9-year-old male Sahar and 5-year-old female littermates Kamali and Zalika. They are moving in preparation for Lincoln Park Zoo’s building renovation of their iconic Kovler Lion House which originally opened in 1912, and is a historical landmark and the last project of The Pride of Chicago at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Sahar was born on January 27, 2010 at the Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society and moved to Lincoln Park Zoo in February 2012. Arriving at 2 years of age, Sahar had become an icon at the Lincoln Park Zoo. In the summer he could often be found lounging on the high rocks in the middle of his habitat, or in cooler months he was often found on the heated rocks. Sahar likes to keep both females nearby (especially Zalika), and if they wander out of view you could hear his roar across the zoo grounds.
As littermates, Kamali and Zalika were born on September 7, 2013 at the Oregon Zoo. They arrived at Lincoln Park Zoo in April 2015, at which time they were also introduced to Sahar. To tell the two apart, Zalika is a bit bigger than Kamali. But the easiest way is that Kamali has a black scar on her front left leg from when she was a young cub and was over-groomed by the her mother. Zalika is the more outgoing of the two females, and often takes the lead when exploring new spaces or interacting with enrichment, while Kamali is more reserved. Both are motivated to learn behaviors and work with keepers to participate in their own health care.
Upon their arrival the pride will be placed in the Lion Exhibit at Rolling Hills Zoo for observation, but will not be immediately on exhibit in their habitat. During their first one to two weeks of observation, the keepers will be getting to know the pride while the pride will also be getting to know the keepers and their new home environment. Once the keepers feel that the pride is comfortable with their surroundings and with each other, then they will go out into their habitat for visitor viewing.