TULSA, Okla. (May 24, 2018) – A new resident is joining the Tulsa Zoo. Male African lion, Kalu, has started the introductory process and will eventually be joining lioness Shatari on exhibit.
Kalu (pronounced Kuh-LOO) arrived at the Tulsa Zoo in April and underwent a standard quarantine period. During this time veterinary staff monitored his health and well-being. He was recently moved into the lion grottos and will slowly become familiar with the exhibit and Shatari.
“After spending several days forming bonds with animal care staff behind-the-scenes, we plan to start allowing Kalu access to the lion exhibit,” says Curator of Mammals Jordan Piha. “Both lions will be able to see and smell one another, as Shatari will be in the other large cat grotto, where the tigers used to live. We will look to their behavior for cues about when they are ready to meet.”
Kalu was born in 2015 at the Denver Zoo to first-time parents mother Neliah and father Sango. He will be a companion to Shatari following the loss of male African lion Kofi in November 2017 to age-related illness. Shatari, almost 16 years old, was born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, CO.
“We never want to rush these things,” Piha says. “Kalu is adjusting to a lot of new things and his comfort is our highest priority. We want him to feel safe in his new home and will slowly introduce him to the exhibit.”
The process to introduce animals to a new habitat can take days or weeks, depending on the species and individual animals, Piha says.
With some males weighing more than 400 lbs., African lions are the second-largest living cat, after the tiger. Native to north, central and east Africa, African lions are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List because of poaching and habitat loss.
Watch the Tulsa Zoo’s website and social media for updates on Kalu’s transition onto exhibit.