Taronga Western Plains Zoo is privileged to care for African Lions, which play a crucial role in the international conservation efforts to protect this Endangered species.
The Zoo’s brand new Lion Pride Lands exhibit takes visitors on a journey to an African Maasai village with a nearby walk-through goat kraal, lifelike sculptures and engaging audio visual elements. Visitors can enjoy an incredible outlook across to the Lion pride as they survey their 3.5-hectare domain. Pride Lands tells the important story of the plight of Lions in the wild, whilst offering a visitor experience like no other.
Upon completion of construction at Pride Lands in mid February 2018, the pride of eight Lions was transported from their existing exhibit to the behind the scenes dens at Pride Lands. The pride are spending time settling in, and will be visible in their new home at Pride Lands from Easter 2018.
These eight African Lions have pride of place here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Get to know them from their pride profiles!
Lazarus, adult male
Date of birth: 1 May 2002
Weight: 185 kilograms
Lazarus came to Taronga Western Plains Zoo from Auckland Zoo on 12 September 2012. Lazarus grew up as an orphan cub and was hand raised in the Western Cape province of South Africa, before moving to New Zealand at 12 months of age. He has sired two litters of offspring at Taronga Western Plains Zoo; three cubs born in February 2015, and four cubs born in November 2016, both to mother Maya. Lazarus is a valuable individual to the African Lion breeding program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo and enjoys the company of Maya, as well as his four male cubs.
Maya, adult female
Date of birth: 26 February 2011
Weight: 130 kg
Maya arrived at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on 17 Feb 2014, also from South Africa. She has given birth to two litters of cubs at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, including Makeba, Zuri and Baako (the first litter ever to be born at the Zoo), and four male cubs born in November 2016. She is a laid back lioness and together with male Lazarus, the two make an impressive pair. Maya can often be spotted playing with her two daughters and four sons on exhibit.
Zuri, sub adult female
Date of birth: 28 February 2015
Zuri, along with her sister Makeba and brother Baako (now at Mogo Zoo) were the first ever African Lion cubs to be born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo! ‘Zuri’ means ‘beautiful’ in Swahili. She is known for her confidence in the pride, and along with Makeba, enjoys playing with the four male cubs (her younger brothers).
Makeba, sub adult female
Date of birth: 28 February 2015
Makeba is part of the first ever litter of African Lion cubs to be born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo (see ‘Zuri’, above)! Her name is African and means ‘greatness’. Makeba is a quirky lioness and is known to be a little more reserved than her sister, Zuri. Together, the two get along well with their mother, Maya, and younger brothers, and will often engage in playful games.
Bakari, Karoo, Virunga and Sheru – four male juveniles
Date of birth: 19 November 2016
Four male juveniles, Bakari, Karoo, Virunga and Sheru, were born to mother Maya and father Lazarus in November 2016. They each have a strong bond, not only with each other as siblings, but with their older sisters, Makeba and Zuri. They can be spotted interacting and playing with Maya, as well as Lazarus, who exerts his fatherly discipline with a gentle tail whack from time to time. Bakari, Karoo, Virunga and Sheru continue to grow in confidence and form a special part of the cohesive family unit that is the Lion pride at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.