Rosamond Gifford Zoo Acquires Male African Lion

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Rosamond Gifford Zoo is pleased to announce the arrival of a male African lion named M’Wasi. He was acquired from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and can now be seen on exhibit in Lion Corridor, located in the Social Building area of the zoo.

“We are excited to introduce M’Wasi, ‘the King of the Bronx,’ to the Syracuse community and to once again have a male lion in our collection,” says Zoo Director Ted Fox. “He is an impressive lion and we were fortunate to acquire him through the recommendation of the Species Survival Plan.”

Animals are regularly transferred between AZA-accredited zoos through the SSP, a shared management effort for threatened or endangered animal populations. 

M’Wasi (Swahili for “rebel”) was born in 2002 at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, Colo. He arrived at the Bronx Zoo in 2005 and sired three litters during his time there, including Moxie, the first cub born at the Bronx Zoo in 31 years.

13-year-old M’Wasi has left the downstate region to spend his golden years in upstate New York as companion to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo’s 15-year-old lioness, Kierha. The zoo intends to exhibit the pair together, pending the successful completion of lion introductions.

In the wild, except for a small population in the dry Gir Forest of northwest India, lions are found in most countries of sub-Saharan Africa. Although their numbers once stood at 100-200,000, they are now considered vulnerable with approximately 21,000 remaining in Africa. Most live in protected national parks and reserves.

The main threats to lions are indiscriminate killing to protect livestock, prey base depletion, habitat loss and trophy hunting. Lions are the most social of the big cats and the only cats that live in groups, called prides. Both male and female lions roar and can be heard up to five miles away—their roar is the loudest vocal sound created by any feline.

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