July 5, 2011 -
newest big cat made her debut this week.
Zarina, a two-year-old African lioness, is
alternating days on exhibit with her future
companion, Jimmy, the zoo's male African lion.
Zarina, who was born and raised at Virginia
Zoo, comes to Knoxville on the
recommendation of the Species Survival Plan
(SSP), which manages the placement and
breeding of African lions in zoos accredited by
the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Zoo keepers are currently in the process of
getting Jimmy and Zarina familiar with each other through "howdy" contact, which means they have the
option to interact through a mesh barrier. As they become better acquainted, keepers will introduce
them and they will share the same exhibit space.
"Jimmy's reached the age where it is appropriate for him to have a pride of his own, and we're excited
to have Zarina as a companion for him," says Terry Cannon, curator of mammals.
Knoxville Zoo is Knoxville's largest year-round attraction. Located off exit 392A from Interstate 40, the zoo is
open every day except Christmas Day. Knoxville Zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and
Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation,
and education. Currently, the zoo is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and from 9:30
a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. Nextday
admission is free after 3 p.m. For more information, please call 865-637-5331 ext. 300 or visit www.knoxvillezoo.org.