April 13, 2024
African lions Dixie and Kenya lounge on a picket system inside their enclosure at the ABQ BioPark Zoo. The brother and sister are being relocated to yet another zoo early next thirty day period. (Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal)

“And this new (unidentified) zoo will be in a position to present (African lions Kenya and Dixie) with extra.”

— Stephanie Stowell,

ABQ BioPark Zoo director

What a unhappy commentary about 1 of the greatest vacationer sights in New Mexico — the ABQ BioPark Zoo.

The zoo announced last week that its two African lions, 9-12 months-old brother and sister Kenya and Dixie, are getting moved to a new, undisclosed zoo due to the fact the lions’ accommodations in Albuquerque have come to be outdated.

Kenya and Dixie, among the zoo visitors’ favored animals, have been born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and moved to Albuquerque in 2016. They are expected to depart this thirty day period for “a property that has a a lot more complex and sturdy habitat for them, as effectively as better amenities … for the keepers,” claimed Stephanie Stowell, BioPark director.

We’re all for a superior habitat for the lions and their keepers, but why not here?

Kenya and Dixie’s 3,136-sq.-foot enclosure was built in 1984 and contains a moat that turned out not to attraction to the lions — they favor to sprawl out on a wood system and increase their heads in curiosity as little ones and other site visitors stream by. From this system, Kenya frequently emits his roar, which can be heard throughout the neighborhood.

“So, 40 a long time ago, that lion habitat and all individuals other habitats ended up point out of the artwork,” Stowell states.

Considering the fact that then, the zoo has manufactured lots of alterations and updates — which includes bringing in such new displays as otters and penguins — but wouldn’t it have designed perception to also system for an up to date home for the popular King of the Jungle? Stowell states the zoo has prolonged-phrase options for improvements to its “catwalk,” but no particular strategies for renovations that would incorporate lions. It is disturbing that the only “plan” for Kenya and Dixie was to ship them off.

Their departure follows the heart-wrenching discovery of a male Bengal tiger cub Albuquerque police identified within a dog crate in a cellular house in January. The rescued cub, Duke, was cared for shortly at the BioPark and acquired 5 lbs ., but zoo officials reported the 4-month-old cub could not be put in a breeding plan or accredited zoo mainly because his genetic lineage was unidentified. So, the endangered Bengal tiger was moved to an animal sanctuary in Colorado. What a disgrace he was not equipped to dwell lengthy in the metropolis soon after which he was named and in which he experienced come to be a rock star.

The BioPark’s Asia exhibit, presently less than construction, will be home to Malayan tigers, a smaller and distinct sort of tiger, but it won’t have Duke, or Kenya and Dixie.

Sending substantial-profile exhibits somewhere else is a blow to the BioPark and definitely simply cannot enable it retain its spot as a leading attraction in the condition. The time for updating the lions’ enclosure was yesterday.

This editorial 1st appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was prepared by associates of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the feeling of the newspaper relatively than the writers.