We received a three-and-a-half-year-old male African lion, Boboo (pronounced Ba-boo), from the Columbus Zoo! Boboo arrived yesterday (March 10) and will spend time in an off-exhibit area to acclimate to his new surroundings. He was transported to his night house upon arrival and is doing well.

It is unsure of how our current 20-year-old female African lion, Cookie, will accept Boboo, so there will be a period of time where they will get to know each other behind the scenes to see if they would like to spend time together. They are not a breeding pair, so there is a chance that they will be rotated separately on view, or if they show signs that they will get along, they will be able to be seen together.

It will be at least 1 – 2 weeks before Boboo is on view for the public.

Boboo is actually a true brother to Kitambi, our eight-year-old male lion who unexpectedly passed away in August from a severe systemic infection. They share parents Tomo and Asali, who are at the Columbus Zoo. Boboo’s keepers in Columbus have let us know that he is full of spunk, very smart and enjoys food! Keepers here are anxious to get to know him and we are proud to welcome him to the Phoenix Zoo family!

Once common in Africa, lion populations have plummeted by more than 40% percent over the past two decades and are currently listed as a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List. One of the major threats to these wild populations is related to human population growth and agricultural expansion. Lions, which pose a threat to valuable livestock, are often indiscriminately killed as preemptive protection measures. Prey depletion, habitat loss, bushmeat trade and poorly regulated sport hunting have also led to lion population decline, according to the IUCN.

The Phoenix Zoo has supported various projects over the years through our Conservation Grants Program. Several of these programs focus on bringing awareness and solutions to carnivore-human conflict in Africa.

Keeper Heather Vetter on the Arrival of Boboo:

Keeper Heather Vetter on How to Pronounce Boboo:

Keeper Heather Vetter on When Guests Can Expect to See Boboo:

Keeper Heather Vetter on Getting Boboo Acclimated: 

Keeper Heather Vetter on Boboo and Cookie Introductions: