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Lion on the move: Roary the Lion heads to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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Tue, Jun 30th 2020 12:45 pm
Roary (Image courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo)
Roary (Image courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo)

This past week, 4-year-old African lion Roary made his way from the Buffalo Zoo to his new home at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, Ohio.

At the Columbus Zoo, Roary will join a female lion named Kazi and have the opportunity to start a family of his own in the future.

Roary's move opens up the opportunity for the Buffalo Zoo to allow its trio of lions (Tiberius, Lelie and Lusaka) to breed.

This action is based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Species Survival Plan (SSP). The Buffalo Zoo is a participant in several SSPs all designed to help ensure the survival of selected species in zoos and aquariums, most of which are threatened or endangered in the wild.

"Participating in the Species Survival Program is one of the most significant ways zoos can help save wildlife. While Roary's departure is bittersweet for us, it means we continue to contribute to assuring a bright future for lions in zoos and in the wild," Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Norah Fletchall said.

A press release read, “The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on the status of the natural world – and the measures needed to safeguard it – estimates there are 23,000-39,000 lions left in the wild, and their numbers are rapidly decreasing. Loss of habitat and poaching are among the fundamental causes of their decline. The rapid decrease further underscores the importance of the Buffalo Zoo's involvement in SSPs and other conservation programs. Part of our mission is to help reverse the decline of the African lion species and many others.”

Roary was born in Buffalo in 2016, along with his sisters Asha and Amirah and his half-brother Tobias. All four lions lived at the Buffalo Zoo with parents Tiberius, Lelie and Lusaka until late 2018 when Tobias relocated to the Denver Zoo. Not long after, Asha and Amirah left for the Detroit Zoo, leaving Roary as the last of the four cubs.

Members can visit the “Big Cat Exhibit” at the Buffalo Zoo when it reopens Thursday, July 2, to Members. The Zoo will open to the general public on Friday, July 3. It will be closed every Tuesday for deep cleaning and disinfection. Visit www.buffalozoo.org to purchase tickets or for information on new visitor protocols.

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