December 23, 2008

Lions switch zoos for yearlong date

Two male lions from one New Zealand zoo have been shipped to another temporarily in hopes that they will become fathers.

Malik and Zulu will be away from the Wellington Zoo for a year, The Dominion Post reported. They were sent to the South Island to Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch.

There was a double reason for the move. The Wellington Zoo has both male and female lions but does not have the facilities to deal with cubs, while Orana has space and females but no males.

While the boys are away, we'll look at renovating the big cats' enclosures so that one day we can house the males and females together as a pride, said Mauritz Basso, the Wellington Zoo director.

The two lions were loaded into crates after being given anesthetics, Katja Geschke, the managing veterinarian, said. They were also to be sedated for the trip to Christchurch, the newspaper said.