Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks was joined by officials from the Seneca Park Zoo to announce a summer-long naming contest for the Zoo’s three African lions. The trio, who came to the Zoo from an animal park outside Pretoria, South Africa last December, has been on display to the public since May 17th. The male and one female were both born in September of 2010, while the remaining female was born in January of 2011. All three are unrelated.
“With the opening of the ‘A Step Into Africa’ exhibit this past May, our three African lions have been the stars of the show here at the Zoo for the past few months,” said Brooks. “In recent years, similar naming contests have drawn an average of 1,000 entries so we anticipate a strong community interest in figuring out unique names for our lions this summer.”
To give the community a chance to properly welcome the lions to Monroe County, the Zoo will host a naming contest starting today through August 31, 2012. The winning names will be announced in early September.
“Our naming contests are a creative way for visitors to connect with these majestic animals,” said Rachel Baker August, Executive Director for the Seneca Park Zoo Society. “They also provide a platform for families to do some research on the animals, observe their natural behaviors and better understand their place in the animal kingdom.”
Each lion has its own distinct personality that will help visitors out when thinking of the perfect name.
The male is easily recognized by his mane. He is the most cautious and will usually follow the lead of the larger female. He often carries his favorite toys around in his mouth all day.
The two females differ slightly in size; the larger female is lighter in color and is the most outgoing of the trio. She’ll be the first to investigate new surroundings and situations. The smaller female has a reddish tint and the most shy in the group, but is mischievous, frequently pouncing on the other two to initiate a play session.
African lions are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. It is believed that during the past two decades, the lion population has declined by nearly 30 percent.
Names may be submitted via e-mail to email@example.com until 5 p.m. on August 31, 2012. More details on the naming contest can be found at www.senecaparkzoo.org as well as the Zoo’s Facebook page.