A female lion was fatally injured while being introduced to a newly acquired male companion at the Birmingham Zoo in Alabama, officials said Tuesday. Akili, who was born in 2005 in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and had been at the Birmingham Zoo since 2007, couldn't be saved after being injured by a lion named Josh, who had been at the zoo since April. The slow process of introducing the two lions to each other had begun previously, the zoo said in a statement, and Akili was badly injured within minutes of a meeting on Monday, reports the AP.
"Animal introductions are always risky because wild animals can be unpredictable and we cannot control their interactions," Hollie Colahan, the zoo's deputy director, said in a statement. The introduction was done on a day the zoo was closed so no visitors were present, said Jennifer Ogilvie, a zoo spokeswoman. "Josh is fine and will continue to receive the excellent care he always receives," she said. Josh was brought to the zoo as replacement for Kwanza, a male lion who lived with Akili and died in 2021, the statement said. WAFF reports Akili and Kwanza had five cubs together in 2011.
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