ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – A little more than a month ago, the lion pride from Fort Worth returned home, leaving the Abilene Zoo. Now, the zoo welcomes Kenya and Dixie, a pair of lion siblings from ABQ BioPark Zoo in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Kenya and Dixie have been searching for their place to call home for almost three years, after living at the ABQ BioPark Zoo since 2016. They were born ABQ BioPark Zoo and the relocation is planned through AZA’s African Lion Species Survival Plan.

Courtesy of the Abilene Zoo

Unlike the Fort Worth zoo’s lions Jabulani, Saba, and Abagebe, who stayed in Abilene while their habitat underwent renovations, Kenya and Dixie are officially Abilene Zoo residents. Clay Carabajal, Supervisor of Conservation, shared the crew’s excitement for the African lions in a press release.

“We are very excited to continue to care for and display African lions here at the Abilene Zoo,” said Carabajal. “African lions are one of the most iconic species on the planet, however, they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Populations of wild lions have declined over 43% in the last 25 years due to poaching, habitat loss and depletion of the prey they hunt.”

The zoo recently announced plans for a new African lion habitat, where Kenya and Dixie will be included in the upcoming master plan.