NORFOLK, Va. (WRIC) — The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk plans to introduce their new male lion, Ansel, to two females that will be arriving at the end of the month.
Zoo keepers and personnel are hoping that the addition of the lionesses — sisters Asha and Kali — will result in cubs in the near future.
“Not only are we excited to bring in this young family of lions, but we are also delighted at the prospect of having cubs in the near future which is crucial to the long-term survival of this species,” the zoo’s executive director said on their website.
Ansel, now fully grown at 5 years old, weighs 450 pounds and has been getting acquainted with his caretakers and adjusting to the new surroundings. Visitors can catch a glimpse of him when he is out on exhibit in the next few weeks.
Asha and Kali will be turning 5 at the end of April. All three lions were endorsed for the Virginia Zoo based on a breeding recommendation made by the African Lion Species Survival Plan.
After they arrive at the zoo, the lionesses will complete a routine quarantine period before being introduced to Ansel and exhibited to visitors.
Virginia Zoo has plans to hold a “house warming” party for the new lions that will include educational activities for visitors as well as a fundraiser to support lion conservation.