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Meet Boboo: The Phoenix Zoo's new African lion

Boboo with a boomer ball.jpg
Posted at 3:15 PM, Mar 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-11 18:53:32-04

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Zoo has a new African lion.

Boboo (pronounced Ba-Boo), a 3 1/2-year-old male African lion, arrived at the Phoenix Zoo on Sunday, March 10 from the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio.

He spent the night in his night house and was "doing well," the zoo said. He will remain off-exhibit for the next one to two weeks to get used to his new environment.

His zookeepers in Columbus described Boboo as "full of spunk, very smart and enjoys food," according to the Phoenix Zoo's statement. "Keepers here are anxious to get to know him and we are proud to welcome him to the Phoenix Zoo family."

Keepers will also be watching how Baboo interacts with Cookie, the zoo's 20-year-old female African lion, behind the scenes to determine if the two will be friendly enough to be out on exhibit at the same time. It is not known if Cookie will accept Baboo, the zoo said in a statement.

They will be introduced through a "howdy door," which is a door with holes in it, said zookeeper Heather Vetter in a series of short video clips shared on the zoo's website.

"They can see each other. They can smell each other. They can kind of size each other up," she said. If that goes well, then keepers can work on a more formal introduction, she said.

Vetter also said that the two will not breed as Cookie is too old, but both will "provide good companionship to each other."

Baboo is a "true brother" of Kitambi, the eight-year-old lion who died last August from a systemic infection, the zoo said. They both share the same parents, Tomo and Asali, who live at the Columbus Zoo.

Last week, the zoo announced that Suriya, a 16-year-old female Sumatran tiger, was euthanized after years of health issues, including chronic eye inflammation, kidney failure and, most recently, a skin infection.