FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: March 9, 2023
Abilene, TX- The Abilene Zoo is thrilled to announce the arrival of Kenya and Dixie, a sibling pair of African lions from ABQ BioPark Zoo in Albuquerque, New Mexico. These lions have been in search of a new home for the past three years. The ABQ BioPark Zoo received a recommendation for African lions Kenya and Dixie to be transferred to another Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited facility. Brother and sister, Kenya and Dixie were born at San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2013. They have lived at the ABQ BioPark since 2016. Their relocation is coordinated through AZA’s African Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) to support the genetics, demographics and long term sustainability of lions in human care.
The news of Kenya and Dixie’s arrival comes just a few weeks after the departure of Jabulani, Saba, and Abagebe. The former trio of Abilene Zoo resident lions, returned to their home at the Fort Worth Zoo. The Abilene Zoo was selected as the temporary holding facility for Fort Worth’s pride as renovations were made to their home. Now that construction has allowed them to return home, they were safely transferred back to Fort Worth. Unlike the former pride of lions, Kenya and Dixie are not on a temporary loan, they are now Abilene Zoo residents.
“We are very excited to continue to care for and display African lions here at the Abilene Zoo.” said Clay Carabajal, Supervisor of Conservation. “African lions are one of the most iconic species on the planet, however they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Populations of wild lions have declined over 43% in the last 25 years due to poaching, habitat loss and depletion of the prey they hunt.”
The Abilene Zoo recently announced the future plans to create a new African lion habitat as part of the upcoming master plan. Kenya and Dixie will be included in future planning.
About Abilene Zoo
Abilene Zoo was founded in 1966 as a collaborative partnership between the City of Abilene and the Abilene Zoological Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to saving wildlife and protecting wild places. Through its passion and expertise in animal care, conservation, and education, the Abilene Zoo’s mission is a place of learning and adventure where people make memories, share in the joy of discovery, and become inspired to save wildlife. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums since 1985, this West Texas Zoo sees 129 school districts from over 51 Texas counties in addition to over a quarter of a million guests each year. To learn more, visit abilenezoo.org.