NAPLES, Fla. — A trio of lions who grew up in the Naples Zoo over the last three years will soon be leaving the den.
Ruaha, Chobe, and Karoo will be moving to Brevard Zoo. Their last day on display in Naples will be April 26.
The cubs made their debut in July 2019 and have been fan favorites since the very beginning.
The zoo held a naming contest for the cubs to celebrate the first public exhibit of lion cubs at the facility in 30 years; their namesakes are those of three South African national parks.
Zoo patron Elton Alikaj shared photos on Twitter of "one of the boys" shortly after their debut. "My kids have enjoyed watching them grow over the past 3 years and will definitely miss them," Alikaj wrote.
My kids have enjoyed watching them grow over the past 3 years and will definitely miss them. Here is a picture of one of the boys 3 years ago as a cub next to its parents… pic.twitter.com/4XQobyOA9H— Elton Alikaj (@eltonalikaj) April 17, 2022
According to the zoo's website, mother Shani and her mate, Masamba, were specifically matched by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan (SSP).
The cubs' transfer to Broward Zoo is in alignment with SSP guidelines "that identify population goals and recommendations to manage a genetically diverse, demographically varied, and biologically sound population."