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New African lion arrives at Henry Vilas Zoo

Published On: Mar 07 2013 03:33:25 PM CST
Shakura
MADISON, Wis. -

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi on Thursday announced the arrival of a new female African lion at Dane County's Henry Vilas Zoo.

The lion came to Madison from the Sedgewick County Zoo in Wichita, Kan.

Ronda Schwetz, director of the zoo, said that Shakura is just over two years old and is a young adult. The Lion Species Survival Plan, which works to preserve a species over generations, sent Shakura to pair with Henry, the older male lion currently at the zoo.

The SSP makes matches to help produce the healthiest and most genetically sound offspring possible for the long-term health of the whole population.

"Shakura is very energetic and fun to watch on exhibit. She has taken to her new surroundings very well," said Schwetz in a Dane County news release.

Long-time resident lion Henry, 17 years old, has recently been diagnosed with early stage renal failure, which is common in both big cats and house cats of this age. The disease is manageable through diet and close monitoring by staff.

Male lions rarely live past 10 years in the wild and live on average 13-18 years in captivity. Henry has reached such advanced age, and is still able to be paired with a young female lion, because of the excellent care he receives from the zoo’s keepers and veterinary staff, according to the news release.

"Henry and Shakura are getting to know each other, and until they can go outside together, they will be taking turns on exhibit when the weather is nice. We look forward to everyone coming to see our new addition," said Schwetz in the news release.

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