October 15, 2008

Mass. Zoo Benefiting From Rare Lion

Tourism at a zoo in Attleboro, Mass., has increased substantially since a rare white lion was imported to the site from South Africa, a zoo official says.

Capron Park Zoo director Jean Benchimol said the presence of Ramses the lion has been a boon for the tourist site since the endangered animal was delivered from a South African zoo last December, The Boston Globe said Wednesday.

Benchimol said since she first arrived at the zoo in 2005 from Victoria, Texas, she and the rest of the zoo's 14-person staff have attempted to increase tourism numbers on a $1.5 million budget.

"I love challenges. I did it in Victoria, and when I came here, we all set our sights on making this zoo more attractive," Benchimol told the Globe.

The newspaper said the presence of Ramses has done just that as the 2-year-old feline's presence helped bring about an average daily attendance of 20,000 between April and July.

Current estimations regarding the world's total white lion population range from nearly 100 to more than 500 of the large cats, the Globe said.