ABILENE, Texas (Press Release) – The Abilene Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of three lions from the Fort Worth Zoo.
One male and two female lions have temporarily relocated from the Fort Worth Zoo to Abilene.
Animal Care Staff will care for the new pride for approximately two years while the Fort Worth
Zoo builds a redesigned lion habitat projected to open in Spring 2023.
The male lion is named Jabulani, and the two females are Abagebe and Saba, with all three
lions being nine years old. They will all be on exhibit beginning Friday, November 27.
“Be prepared for the rumbling of lion roars to be heard all around the east end of Abilene,” said
General Curator Denise Ibarra. “The zoo is excited to now have four lions, including Botswana,
our resident 18-year-old male.”
The Zoo had to make minor modifications to the original lion and tiger exhibits, which were built
when the zoo opened in 1966. Construction workers chiseled through more than five feet of
concrete rock wall separating the habitats and creating a pass-through tunnel.
“The maintenance team built two-tiered platforms for the lions to climb on and lounge in the
sun,” said Maintenance Manager Roy Greer. “So far, Botswana has enjoyed the view. We hope
the new lions will as well.”
Interior dens were extended and connected to provide a comfortable location for training and
shelter during the cold or hot months in West Texas. “These modifications are a temporary solution, but in the future, we hope that with the community’s support, we can build a new lion habitat,” stated Zoo Director Jesse Pottebaum.
“Bringing these lions from Fort Worth will allow the citizens of Abilene to envision having our
own large Pride once again.”