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.