Blog reader Linda asked (in a comment) about Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's African lions Moufasa and Chloe: their ages, where they originate from and the relationship between them. The Zoo's Animal Care insider/blogger gives us the answer.Hi Linda, I am glad to hear you love our lions. I agree, they are very cool. Moufasa and Chloe both came to us from Zooworld in Panama City, Florida. Moufasa will be 11 years old very soon. His birthday is November 2, 1997. Chloe is 10 years old and will turn 11 on January 30, 2009.
They are related in that they both have the same father. We knew that when we got them but Moufasa was vasectomized when he was about 1 1/2 years old because he is not meant to be bred. (The Zoo works with the Species Survival Plan that focuses on the krugeri subspecies of lion. Moufasa and Chloe are a different subspecies and therefore not for breeding.) You might ask why we did not neuter him like you might your male house cat. An interesting thing happens when male lions are castrated. They lose or never develop their mane. Vasectomizing Moufasa allows him to look and act like the "King of Beasts."
I was talking with one of our lion Keepers, Elliott and he gave me some inside info to share with you. The lions recognize their Keepers and can often pick them out of a large crowd of people. He tells me that the lions are very friendly in the mornings, but Moufasa gets more like the King of Beasts after he eats his evening meal.
Anytime the lions get some new animal enrichment item, Chloe is the first to check it out while Moufasa stays back. So much for the king of beasts, huh?! This is actually a behavior you would see in wild Lions -- the females do the hunting, and then the male comes in later to help himself. Elliott told me that Moufasa and Chloe will play in their exhibit in the mornings by chasing each other and doing mock take downs of each other. If you ever get to the zoo just as we open and go to the lion exhibit, you may see this sometime.
Thanks for your questions Linda!
And here are two photographs of the Zoo's lions, Moufasa and Chloe, respectively: