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Zoo News Blog

The Pride of Our Zoo — Big Cat Edition

“Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope.” – Mufasa

In The Lion King movie, the “Circle of Life” concept is first introduced to viewers in the opening sequence of the film and illustrates how this concept is an integral part of the Pride Lands. During the film, Mufasa explains the importance of this concept and his responsibilities as the future king in protecting the Pride Lands.

Since the original movie was released 25 years ago, half of Africa’s lions have disappeared, but research shows the lion population can recover. To protect lions in the wild (and the entire circle of life), Disney announced “Protect the Pride,” a global conservation campaign to raise awareness of the crisis facing lions and other wildlife in Africa and to support conservation through the Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) and its partners.

The Houston Zoo saves animals, like our African lion pride’s cousins, in the wild by partnering with like-minded programs and organizations. To help #ProtectThePride, the Zoo’s partner, the Pride Lion Conservation Alliance, works closely with five Pride alliances in Africa, including Lion Guardians, the Ruaha Carnivore Project, and Lion Landscapes.

With World Lion Day on Saturday, August 10, we’d like to introduce you to our ambassadors for lions in the wild, our very own lion pride.

Meet our Pride

hasani Hasani (means “handsome” in Swahili) came from the Oregon Zoo and joined our pride a little over a year ago. He is a slightly goofy, loves to play with enrichment toys, and enjoys spending time near his lady lions. Next month, he’ll be celebrating his fifth birthday – he’s basically a teenage boy in lion years!

Our three lion sisters came to us almost 10 years ago from the Fort Worth Zoo. Uzima (pronounced “oo-zee-mah”) is our dominant female in the pride and is the most laid back of the three sisters. She is very confident and playful with Hasani, but also enjoys quiet time to herself, resting atop the best rock in their habitat.

houston zoo lion sistersNimue
(pronounced “Nee-moo”) is very energetic, especially when it comes to interacting with her keepers. She loves training and can be the shyest around Hasani.

is the tomboy of the group, loves all things food, playing with boomer balls, and is the first one to come to our Behind the Scenes training window.

This is just a snapshot of our pride. You can learn more about our pride and how we are helping save lions in the wild through daily keeper chats and big cat training encounters. Did you know that every time you visit the Zoo and see our lion pride, you’re helping us protect the wild lion population in Africa?

Visit our Protect the Pride page to learn more about the ways you can get involved as a Zoo guest today! If you’ve seen The Lion King, be sure to show your movie ticket stub at the Zoo gate for $3 off your admission ticket. Offer valid until August 25.