We will be bidding farewell to Demarcus, the two-year-old African Lion, in mid-April. Demarcus will be moving to New Jersey’s Turtle Back Zoo where he will gain his own pride of females, a natural move for a male lion his age. The move is based on recommendations made by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for African Lions, a conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to increase the genetic diversity and enhance the health of African Lions.
The departure date is not yet final but we expect to see him off in a couple weeks. He can be seen on exhibit with his sisters and mother after 3:30 pm. A Sacramento Zookeeper and Turtle Back Zoo zookeeper each will accompany Demarcus during his travels to ensure safe travels from Sacramento and a comfortable adjustment at Turtle Back Zoo.
His sisters, Inara and Saphira, will remain at the Sacramento Zoo for now with their dam and sire. The African Lion SSP is continuing to work with the Zoo on the future placement of these young females into their own pride.
As few as 20,000 African lions are estimated to survive in the wild and their future remains uncertain. The three main threats facing African Lions today are killing in defense of human life and livestock, habitat loss, and prey base depletion.
Take a look back at Demarcus and how he has grown over the years.
Photo Credit: Erik Bowker and Mike Owyang