Cincinnati Zoo introduces African lions to shared space

CINCINNATI -- The latest power couple that could save an animal species made their first public appearance in Cincinnati Tuesday.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens released a video of John and Imani, two African lions, who were introduced to one another in a private event Monday afternoon.

After a few barks, swats, and hisses the two grew comfortable with one another and will now share the outdoor lion enclosure at the zoo.

John and Imani’s introduction was part of a yearlong process to bring the two together, according to the zoo.

The pairing of the lions included sharing scents and straw between the two animals' separate cages and monitoring their behavior for the optimal time for introduction and possible mating.

The zoo said the physical meeting between the two went as expected. It is hoped they produce cubs and bolster an endangered lion population.

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