SOUTH BEND — The Potawatomi Zoo has a new pride of African lions: Kembe (male), Shaba (female), and Shtuko (female).
Kembe, Shaba, and Shtuko are all ten years old. They were brought to the United States from South Africa and have lived together as a pride since 2013. Kembe is a little older than Shaba and Shtuko, who are sisters.
The lions have been checked by veterinary and animal care staff and seem to be healthy.
Kembe, Shaba, and Shtuko came to the Potawatomi Zoo from another facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) on the recommendation of the Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) program.
The group also has a breeding recommendation from the SSP.
The lions’ indoor and outdoor home is the renovated and modernized Wilma and Peter Veldman Family Lion Habitat on the east side of the zoo.
Formerly the zoo’s chimpanzee habitat, the new lion habitat was part of the zoo’s Big & Loud capital campaign to bring giraffes and lions to the zoo.
The lion portion of the project was fully funded in Spring 2022, and renovations on the habitat started later that year.