National Zoo’s pride. Of lions.

Photo courtesy of
‘Gazing out’
courtesy of ‘brianmka’

I was at the National Zoo a couple of weeks ago and noted that the male lion and the two females were kept in separate enclosures, which seemed kind of sad to me. Apparently the Zoo staff agrees, because they’re working through a plan that will allow the male lion Luke (4 years old) to live in the same enclosure with the two females, 6 year old sisters Nababiep and Shera.

What struck me is how the process of acclimating the lions to each other is more or less exactly like introducing a new housecat to your current cat.  Cat owners are told to confine the newcomer behind a closed door so the two cats can sniff at each other through  the crack under the door. Luke, Naba, & Shera had been checking each other out through a mesh door called a “howdy door” for some time so they could get accustomed to each others’ scent before getting to spend time together in an indoor enclosure. And if that continues to go well, the three lions will be brought together in an outdoor enclosure later this spring.

But what happens when you get a handsome young male lion together with a lovely young female lion in the privacy of an indoor enclosure? Exactly what you might think, which means keepers are currently watching to see if Naba is pregnant. They’ll know by early April. And you know what that would mean? OH MAH GAWD, the Zoo would publish photos of lion cubs. You all KNOW how we here at We Love DC feel about cute baby animals. We promise to share the moment the press release hits our inboxes.

Tiffany Baxendell Bridge is an Internet enthusiast and an incurable smartass. When not heckling the neighborhood political scene on Twitter, she can be found goofing off with her ukulele, Bollywood dancing, or obsessing about cult TV. She is That Woman With the Baby In the Bar.

Tiffany lives in Brookland with her husband Tom, son Charlie, and two high-maintenance cats. Read why Tiffany loves DC.

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4 thoughts on “National Zoo’s pride. Of lions.

  1. I understand you’re trying to be cute and up-beat, but your post is not only ignorant, but rude. Equating the care and supervision of captive born, yet wild animals to the “care” of a 3000 year plus domesticated animal is ignorant. It’s rude because this post is a slap to the face to all of the hard working animal keepers at all zoo’s who each walk a fine line between keeping the oblivious zoo patrons “entertained” and the safety and welfare of the their charges.

  2. Yes, pointing out the amusing similarity between this one tiny aspect of caring for lions and caring for housecats is exactly the same as saying there’s no difference between the two.

    I am endlessly jealous of people whose lives are so empty of other slights and challenges that they need to manufacture them.

  3. I always think the National Zoo’s lion (and tiger) exhibit is rather “royal” looking, with its large tiered island setting. Truly a classic, memorable part of the Zoo.

    Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America’s Best Zoos