New Orleans,
10:38 AM

Audubon Zoo Announces Lion Cub Names

Audubon Zoo is excited to announce the names of the male lion cubs after an online vote by the community and extends a big thank you to everyone who helped make the decision. The names that were selected are:

  • Haji, pronounced “Haa-jee,” is Swahili for “journey,” and represents the time Audubon and New Orleans waited for the Roar to Return to the Zoo and how exciting we are not only to have a pride but also to welcome the new cubs.
  • Asani, pronounced “Ah-sah-nee," is Swahili for “rebellious,” and represents the personality of the more strong-willed of the two cubs, who will be given this name.

"The two names chosen happened to be our favorites, because they have a very special meaning to the dedicated staff who care for them,” says Audubon Zoo Curator of Large Mammals Joe Forys “We are thrilled that these were the names selected by the community and overwhelmed by the more than 7,000 votes that were cast!”

The two cubs were born on the morning of Saturday, January 11, to mom Kali and dad Arnold, both age four. The cubs’ birth is important for the Lion Species Survival Plan, which ensures healthy, genetically diverse populations of lions within Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions. Half of Africa’s lions have disappeared in the past 25 years, and the species faces growing threats from poaching, loss of prey, and habitat destruction.

Kali and the cubs have been behind the scenes of their habitat to give them time to bond, receive vaccinations, and be gradually introduced to the rest of the pride. The Zoo’s lion habitat was made possible through a generous gift from philanthropists Joy and Boysie Bollinger. Supporters can continue to follow the lions’ progress on Audubon’s social media platforms.

“The cubs represent resiliency, growth, and strength. We as a community share those traits as well,” says President and CEO Ron Forman. “This is a tough time for New Orleans, but we will get through it. As always, Audubon remains steadfast in our commitment to protecting the wonders of nature and sharing them with the world.”

While its facilities are closed, Audubon is asking supporters to reach out to the White House and Congress to ask for assistance in providing economic relief to larger nonprofits such as zoos, aquariums, and museums in upcoming legislation. The recently passed CARES Act was a tremendous effort to support those individuals and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation omits, however, any forgivable assistance for organizations that employ more than 500 people, such as Audubon Nature Institute. Followers can click here for further details.

Audubon is also asking supporters to help the dedicated staff who continue to provide outstanding care for the animals and the parks they love by donating to the Audubon Recovery Fund.

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Audubon Nature Institute

Audubon Nature Institute operates a family of museums, parks and research facilities dedicated to celebrating the wonders of nature. Through innovative live animal exhibits, education programs, and scientific discovery, Audubon makes a meaningful contribution to preserving wildlife for the future. Audubon Nature Institute flagships include Audubon Park, Audubon Zoo, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Entergy Giant Screen Theater, Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, Audubon Louisiana Nature Center, Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Woldenberg Riverfront Park and Audubon Wilderness Park. Ron Forman is President and CEO of Audubon Nature Institute.