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Three New African Lionesses at the Zoo!

Lioness Amira & Eloise

Posted September 2020

Three African lions, mother Patty Sharptooth and her offspring, Amira and Eloise, arrived in February from the Sedgewick County Zoo in Kansas. After the mandatory quarantine time at the Zoo’s Animal Health Center, the lions moved to Big Cat Country in March, just before the Stay at Home Order for Milwaukee County went into effect. Patty is 5 ½ years old and Amira and Eloise are 2 ½ years old.

Lioness Amira
Lioness Amira

While the Zoo was closed due to the health emergency, it; allowed the three lions to acclimate to their new surroundings. Zookeepers report Patty is shyer than the youngsters, so the lack of people may have helped her settle in. (The indoor Big Cat Country is closed in the Zoo’s current transitional reopening.)

All three are together throughout the days and nights, only separated for feeding, as the girls will steal Patty’s food! They each eat 4.5 pounds of meat daily, in addition to whole prey and a large piece of meat on certain days.

Before the lions arrived at MCZ, keepers kept in touch with the animals’ former keepers to learn as much as possible about them before the transfer and to make sure they were kept as comfortable in their new home as possible. After they arrived, MCZ keepers assured keepers at Sedgewick the animals were acclimating well, as it’s always good to know when transferred animals respond and adjust well to a new zoo. It can be stressful for keepers once their animals transfer and not hear how they are doing.

Patty was born at a different AZA-accredited zoo, and MCZ keepers have been in touch with her keeper. Patty happens to be this keeper’s favorite animal, so it’s nice to keep him updated on how she’s adjusting.  Most keepers are a tight-knit group, and most throughout the country know each other.

Lioness Eloise
Lioness Eloise

Amira and Eloise seem to be acclimating the best, while Patty might be more of a challenge for keepers.  Patty doesn’t seem to like seeing anyone but her keepers! They’re all taking their time and patiently working with Patty and doing what is best for her – whether it be her interacting with keepers only, or slowly introducing her to the presence of visitors.

Ultimately, it will be the decision of the Species Survival Plan® (SSP) whether a male will be transferred to MCZ for possible breeding.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a hold on animal transfers due to health and safety issues.

Mornings are typically the best time to see the lionesses outside and moving about their habitat.  They also rotate time outdoors with the hyenas.

Welcome to the pride Patty, Amira and Eloise!