GROVE CITY, Pa. (WKBN) – A new resident at the Keystone Safari Park in Grove City is ready to explore his outdoor facility after his birth in May.
The Barbary lion cub named Simba — in honor of the Disney film remake — was born May 19.
According to the park, Barbary lions became extinct in their native habitat — the Atlas Mountains in North Africa — between the 1920s and 1960s. There are only 100 lions in zoos that have a high percent of Barbary genetics. There are 20,000 to 40,000 lions in Africa, and all subspecies of African Lions are classified as endangered.
Barbary lions are known for being used in gladiator games in the Coliseum in Rome.
The park says Simba was born at three pounds since birth and has since grown to 12 pounds.
His parents, June and Cash, were previously held at Living Treasures Animal Park in New Castle from 2006 to 2018.
Keystone Park Director Adam Guiher says he’s known June and Cash since they were cubs.
“These lions have been a pleasure to work with throughout their lives. They have raised a handful of cubs, and June has really developed into a proud and experienced mother,” he said. “We are thrilled to be helping a new generation of these rare lions get started, which would otherwise be totally wiped off the planet if it weren’t for the work of zoos around the world.”