Lion Leaves Virginia Zoo for Disneys Animal Kingdom

Young lion moving to new home

Lion from Virginia Zoo moving to Florida


Dakari, a juvenile male African lion at the Virginia Zoo, in his outdoor habitat Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012 (Virginia Zoo photo by Winfield Danielson).

Updated: Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012, 1:25 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 10 Jan 2012, 1:25 PM EST

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A young African lion will be leaving the Virginia Zoo on Thursday and heading to Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando for a potential breeding situation.

According to a Virginia Zoo news release, Dakari, a juvenile male lion, was born at the Zoo on May 2, 2009 to father Mramba and mother Zola, along with two other male cubs and one female cub, in their second litter.

Dakari is the last of the siblings to move to a new home. The other male cubs went to the Pittsburgh Zoo and the female went to the Knoxville Zoo.

Dakari is being moved as part of the Species Survival Program to a potential future breeding situation. The move also frees up Dakari’s parents to breed again.

Species Survival Programs are designed to help endangered species through a range of activities, including cooperative breeding, research, public education, fundraising and field conservation projects.

Lions are the second largest living cat after tigers. With some males exceeding 550 pounds, Dakari weighs 438 pounds.

Wild lions currently inhabit sub-Saharan Africa and are considered to be a vulnerable species due to habitat loss and conflict with humans.

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