With great pride, Audubon Zoo introduced their new lion pride to New Orleans today.
Audubon Members were invited to the Zoo for a special presentation and sneak preview before opening. They were led by representatives from Ashé Cultural Arts Center in a second “lion” to the newly constructed habitat to give a roar of a welcome to the Audubon pride.
"Today is a wonderful day in Audubon’s history," said Ron Forman, President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute. "We are excited to bring the roar back to the Zoo and share current and future successes in lion conservation with our guests."
Audubon works under the Species Survival Plan overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums with the hope of successful breeding of the new pride who were chosen based on their genetic and behavioral matches to help bolster the lion population in human care. Lions are classified from threatened to critically endangered in the wild.
Lions were Audubon Zoo favorites for many years, and Audubon is proud to be able to welcome them back thanks to a generous $5 million dollar donation from philanthropists Joy and Boysie Bollinger, which funded the design and construction of the new lion habitat.
The habitat’s main focal point is a replica of an abandoned 1920’s era train station, and the design gives panoramic views of the habitat along with places for up-close glimpses of the majestic animals. The new habitat has been constructed to accommodate multiple lions.
“Our travels to Africa over the years have taught us the true beauty of nature,” says Boysie Bollinger. "We are so pleased to be able to bring this experience to the children of New Orleans and to educate a new generation about this important species.”
Click here for more information about Audubon Zoo's new lion habitat.
Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.