Why Copenhagen Zoo made a change in the lion pride

26. marts 2014

On monday the 24th of March Copenhagen Zoo received a new male lion from Givskud Zoo. This led to a change in the lion pride of the zoo which meant that the 16 year old male lion and the 14 year old lioness and two young lions were euthanized.

The change in the lion pride had to happen now because Copenhagen Zoo currently has two young females from the 2012 litter and it is ideal to keep these as part of the new pride and then find a suitable male. If the Zoo had not made the change in the pride now then we would have risked that the old male would mate with these two females - his own offspring - and thereby give rise to inbreeding. 

Furthermore we couldn’t risk that the male lion mated with the old female as she was too old to be mated with again due to the fact that she would have difficulties with birth and parental care of another litter.

In addition the following factors had to be taken into account:

• A new male could not be accepted into the pride as long as the old male was still part of the pride. The younger male would be killed by the older male.

• A new male could not be accepted into the pride as long as the old female was part of the pride. She would kill the younger male.

• A new male in a pride would kill all sexually immature young.

• It’s important that a new male lion arrives quickly after the old male is gone. Otherwise the Zoo risks that the females will gang up against a new male and kill him.


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