"It's kind of like sending the kids to college," said Zoo Director Bill Gersonde. "We've had the honor of caring for and seeing these lions grow up. We hate to see them go, but we know it's the best thing for them and the species".
African Lions living in zoos accredited by the Zoo and Aquarium Association are managed through a breeding program that ensures genetic diversity and population stability. The management group for African Lions met earlier this year and determined that Disney's Animal Kingdom would be a good place to send the Abilene's two female cubs. They will be introduced to a male lion and may eventually produce cubs of their own.
The Abilene Zoo is inviting guests to come bid farewell to Kamari and Kinsey this Saturday, Nov. 12. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors can learn fun lion facts from the zoo staff and volunteers, sign a farewell card for the lions and enjoy a free cookie while quantities last.
Discounts will be available at the Watering Hole concession stand and the zoo gift shop will offer discounts to select lion items.
The three male lion cubs, brothers to the females, are currently housed off exhibit. The zoo is awaiting a final agreement with an institution who is interested in providing a new home for the males.