Visitors at the Santa Barbara Zoo will be able to meet two new African lions when the zoo reopens to the public on June 23.
A male named Ralph and a female named Felicia arrived to the zoo on May 6 and are a recommended breeding pair.
The two new lions traveled together via ground transport and went directly into the lion holding area at the Santa Barbara Zoo to get acquainted with each other while they quarantined for 30 days.
Felicia was born at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, South Carolina, on April 10, 2018. She was the dominant cub in her litter and pride. She is not yet fully mature and therefore not expected to reproduce yet.
Ralph was born at the Indianapolis Zoo in Indiana, on September 21, 2015. His previous keepers described him as calm, curious, and respectful.
"While your next visit will feel different than before," said Rich Block, President and CEO of the Santa Barbara Zoo, "we're confident our new lions Ralph and Felicia, along with Twiga, our new baby giraffe, will bring some much-needed smiles to a lot of faces!"
As part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) cooperative breeding program, the zoo had planned to bring in the two new lions prior to the passing of the zoo's longtime lion, Chadwick.