Zoo to say goodbye to two African lions

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks today announced that two of Seneca Park Zoo’s African lions, Savannah and Amali, will be leaving Seneca Park Zoo later this year. The two female lionesses are heading to Milwaukee County Zoo in Wisconsin as part of a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) for this vulnerable species.

Photo by Ceci Menchetti

“Our Zoo and its visitors have enjoyed the opportunity to watch Savannah and Amali grow over the past two years. It will be a bittersweet day when we say goodbye and send them off to their new home,” said County Executive Maggie Brooks. “However, their departure opens up opportunity for a new beginning at our zoo, and we are looking forward to the possibility of new cubs in the future.”

Savannah, born at Seneca Park Zoo in 2013 and named through a public contest, may receive a future breeding recommendation with one of the Milwaukee County Zoo’s male lions. She is particularly desirable because her parents, Chester and Asha — who will continue to reside at the Zoo — represent new genes in the North American population of African lions in conservation care.

Photo by Marie Kraus

Amali was born at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo in March 2013 and has resided at Seneca Park Zoo since July 2013. Because she has more relatives in the population in conservation care, Amali does not currently have a breeding recommendation. Her companionship to Savannah will play an important role in the move, however, as the lionesses behave as sisters.

Photo by Marie Kraus

“This move gives us the opportunity to once again allow our adult lions to reproduce and fulfill our ongoing participation in the African Lion SSP,” said Larry Sorel, County Zoo Director. “With fewer lions, the staff will be able to focus on providing increased enrichment and preparation for future additions to the Zoo family.”

Pamela Reed Sanchez, Executive Director of the Seneca Park Zoo Society, adds that Savannah and Amali have “connected hundreds of thousands of people to wildlife in wild places, providing transformational experiences for our visitors. The success of A Step Into Africa has set the standard for future additions to Seneca Park Zoo.”

Plan a Zoo visit so you can bid farewell to Savannah and Amali. They will be on exhibit from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. daily. The Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Once on grounds you may stay until 4 p.m. For admission rates and additional Zoo information, visit senecaparkzoo.org.