Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Open Daily, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
$20 adults, $15 children

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Open Daily, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
$20 adults, $15 children

View All Rates ›

Zoo Welcomes Two Lions

June 9, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (June 9, 2017) – Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo is welcoming a pair of female African lions from the Santa Barbra Zoo. The lions, “Kadi” and “Neema” are six years old and will join Blank Park Zoo’s six year old male lion “Deuce” at the Tom and Jo Ghrist Great Cats complex. Over the next month, they will slowly be introduced to “Deuce.” Until the introductions are complete, the female lions may be available for viewing during the morning hours at Blank Park Zoo.

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan selected the lion pair to come to Blank Park Zoo with a breeding recommendation.

“The population of African lions has decreased in staggering numbers and we hope to inspire our visitors to take action to save lions for the future,” said Mark Vukovich, Blank Park Zoo CEO. “About 20,000 lions remain and there is hope that we can save them.”

Animal supervisor Bonnie Van Ellen described the new duo as “impressive and feisty.” While the lions are being introduced, the lions will take turns in the outside exhibit yard until keepers feel it is time to allow them to be together.

“It will take at least a month of adjustment for Deuce to get acquainted with his new roommates,” said Van Ellen. “While we hope everything goes smoothly, there may be some fireworks between the lions for a while.”

Blank Park Zoo’s former pair of female lions, Gavivi and Falala lived long lives at Blank Park Zoo and humanely euthanized in 2013 and 2016 during battles with cancer.

Lion Facts

Name: Kadi & Neema

Relationship: sisters

Age: six

Birthplace: National Zoo in Washington, D.C., moved to Blank Park Zoo from the Santa Barbra Zoo

Weight: 283 & 299

About African Lions

The African lion lives in savannas and semi-arid regions of east and south Africa. It is a carnivorous animal and diet in its natural habitat includes buffalo, zebra, antelope, giraffe and more. At Blank Park Zoo, they eat up to eight pounds of beef a day. Lions are the only social cat and live in groups called prides. Males are larger, have big manes for protection, while females are smaller, faster and excellent hunters. Unlike tigers, lions conserve energy and will sleep/rest up to 20 hours a day.

The IUCN lists the African lion as ‘vulnerable’ and populations are declining. Threats include loss of habitat and poaching.

Pictures and video of the baby animals:

About Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo, Iowa’s WILDEST Adventure, is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission rates are $14 for an adult, $8 for a child (3-12 years), and $11 for a senior. Children two years and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.


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