Philadelphia Zoo Welcomes New Female Lion
to First Niagara Big Cat Falls Exhibit

New lioness arrives on a recommendation to continue the successful breeding of African lions at the zoo.

(April 4, 2012) - The Philadelphia Zoo recently welcomed another addition with the arrival of African lion Tajiri—which means “rich” in Swahili—to the First Niagara Big Cat Falls exhibit. The big cat, born in March 2010, came from the Racine Zoo and is settling in well to her new environment. She will debut to the public on Friday, April 6th.

Tajiri came to the Philadelphia Zoo on a Species Survival Plan (SSP) recommendation. SSP is a program that maintains a list of species, complete with their heritage that are selected and bred, for optimum genetic diversity. Assuming the animal is or will be extinct in the wild; the goal is to manage a completely sustainable population within zoos alone. Tajiri will meet Makini in the future, but they will not be scheduled to breed until sometime in 2013.

“The Philadelphia Zoo is thrilled to welcome to our First Niagara Big Cat Falls family….Tajiri a young female lion …a member of the next generation of the Philadelphia Zoo’s lion pride. We are excited to start our new pride journey with Tajiri and Makini in the future. We look forward to having two prides of lions here at the Philadelphia Zoo,” says Tammy Schmidt, Curator of Carnivores.

Most lions now live in eastern and southern Africa, and their numbers there are rapidly decreasing. The most significant threat to the species includes habitat loss and conflicts with humans. African lions are listed as a vulnerable species meaning that this species is likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening its survival and reproduction improve.