Endangered Lions Arrive at Out of Africa
Three young African lions now call Out of Africa Wildlife Park home. Ted, Layla and Lady are part of a lion breeding program to promote lion conservation.
African lion populations have drastically fallen in the last twenty years primarily due to habitat fragmentation, loss of prey, human-lion conflicts and poaching. Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the US Fish and Wildlife Service recently listed two subspecies of lions as endangered:
- Panthera leo leo located in India and western and central Africa numbering 523 and 900 respectively
- Panthera leo melanochaita located across southern and eastern Africa with numbers between 17,000 and 19,000
The new arrivals—one male and two females of the Panthera leo melanochaita species—will provide the basis for a new pride and contribute to their kind as important genetic stock in the years ahead.
The lions were all born at Lion Habitat Ranch near Las Vegas, Nevada. They were transported via climate-controlled truck, arriving at the park Tuesday afternoon, June 26, just as the area’s first seasonal monsoon subsided. The male is 2 ½ years old and the female sisters are 3 ½ years old. The three lions will receive more African-friendly names to be introduced over time using variations of their exisiting names until they clearly recognize and respond to their new names solely.
They are adjusting to their spacious habitats. For a short while the male will be separate but viewable by the lionesses adjacent to him. When the time is right, one or both of the females will come into season. That will be the moment to introduce them so they can become a pride. Acceptance is a crucial part of the process.