The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo will be welcoming a new male lion for exhibit next year.
Two-year-old African lion Bahati will be making the 250 mile trek from the Racine Zoo in Wisconsin to Fort Wayne. His animal care staff in Racine describes him as “intelligent, curious and a problem solver.”
Bahati will be quarantined, and eventually -- slowly -- introduced to the female lion Ina, with whom he will share an exhibit in 2017. Ina shared her space with Bill the Lion, who passed away from terminal cancer back in April.
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo spokesperson Bridget Pearson says it’s critical for Ina to have a friend sharing the exhibit following the loss of Bill.
“Lions are social creatures; they’re a social species,” said Pearson. “So it was really important to find a companion for Ina, so the fact that she’ll have a companion to share her space with is very exciting and it’s what’s best for her. And what’s best for Bahati as well.”
Bahati’s move to Fort Wayne is the result of a collaborative effort within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which manages Species Survival Plans for threatened and endangered animals, like the African lion. There is no set date for Bahati’s arrival.