April 22, 2024

Topeka Zoo Animal Curator Shanna Simpson describes why a lioness there has sprouted a mane.


Several of us took liberties with our hairstyles throughout the pandemic. They certain did at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Centre.

SHANNA SIMPSON: So we ended up like, oh, odd, you know, Zuri’s obtaining a mohawk. And then she begun to truly develop the fur close to her neck. We’re like, holy moly, Zuri is rising a mane.

SIMON: And that is animal curator Shanna Simpson. Zuri is an 18-12 months-outdated lioness. Her fellow lion Avus died in 2020. He was the only male of Topeka’s a few lions. It failed to choose extensive for Zuri to get started rising that distinctively long hair that is mostly involved with males.

SIMPSON: It’s nothing at all like a entirely sexually experienced male lion. She type of has this, like, teenage vibe heading on. So I would say it’s likely about, like, a few or four inches very long, you know, about her neck. And it goes down under her chin and her reduced jaw, and it variety of hangs down close to her chest. And then she does have that mohawk nonetheless. The mohawk is my favorite element.

SIMON: Shanna Simpson suggests Zuri has often experienced a solid persona and a lot more or fewer ran the delight even when Avus was around.

SIMPSON: She’s a very dominant feminine. She always has been. You know, she’s variety of in charge. She’s the additional feisty a person.

SIMON: But Shanna Simpson says Zuri is elderly, and her facial hair may perhaps be a pure, usual rise in her testosterone. The lioness at the Oklahoma City Zoo who formulated a mane died in 2018 since of cancer in her adrenal gland. Zuri is in good health and fitness, and her caretakers see no symptoms of really serious disease, and other instances have been benign.

SIMPSON: In Botswana, there was a pleasure of lionesses, like four or 5 lionesses, and they did a research on them. And they elevated their testosterone, and they showed indicators of remaining the protectors and variety of getting that part and finding a mane. So it really is just – it truly is interesting. It’s so unusual, and it can be intriguing.

SIMON: Zuri and the other lions have normally been a favored at the Topeka Zoo and Conservation Centre. And even zoo regulars have mistaken Zuri for a new male cat. Animal curator Shanna Simpson suggests…

SIMPSON: She’s just not as quite as she used to be.

SIMON: Ah, but she does now glance a large amount additional like B.J. Leiderman, who does our topic audio – growl.


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