The Houston Zoo ended 2017 on another high note with the recent announcement of a new male lion named Hasani joining its pride.
Three-year-old Hasani’s addition caps off a reported stellar year for the zoo, which set a record in 2017 to become the nation’s 2nd most visited zoo.
Hasani made his first visit to the lion enclosure on Tuesday this week, showing off his catlike prowess by climbing on rocks and nosing around the yard.
We’re on Santa’s nice list for the 95th year! The big guy came early and delivered us an even bigger guy – a 400-pound male lion. Guests can see three-year-old Hasani most mornings in the lion habitat. https://t.co/H8iC03DOHb pic.twitter.com/I9AtheNFRR
— Houston Zoo (@houstonzoo) December 12, 2017
Since the passing of the pride’s male lion Jonathan in 2016, the zoo’s enclosure stood home only to female lions.
Until the pride is acquainted with each other, zookeepers said they will allow each of the three female lions in the pack one-on-one time with Hasani. Eventually, they said the pack will be able to enjoy the enclosure together.
But Hasani isn’t the only new resident at the zoo:
Over the summer, a baby boom boosted the zoo’s population, including a new giraffe, much to the delight of local patrons.
According to the zoo’s website, Hasani will be on view most mornings while he settles into his new home.
You can also watch this fresh frisky footage released by the zoo:
Here's some great footage of Hasani's first day out! pic.twitter.com/0aeODPa0Qo
— Houston Zoo (@houstonzoo) December 13, 2017
Hasani is reportedly a native to the United States, born in the Pacific Northwest as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for lions.
According to researchers, the lions remaining in Africa could fill a football field, which is reportedly half the number of lions alive 20 years ago.
Welcome to Houston, Hasani!