Photo of Shani courtesy of the Akron Zoo.
AKRON -- The Akron Zoo will be saying goodbye to one of its own early next week.
Sunday, Jan. 6 is the last opportunity to see Shani, a female African lion, because she will be leaving the Akron Zoo for the Naples Zoo in Florida. Zoo officials say she will be paired with a male lion at her new home for breeding purposes.
Shani was born at the Fort Worth Zoo in 2005 and has been at the Akron Zoo since 2007.
In exchange for Shani, the Naples Zoo is transferring a female lion of their own -- Mandisa -- to the Akron Zoo.
Mandisa, born at a Wisconsin Zoo in 2008, will undergo a 30-day quarantine upon her arrival in Akron.
Both Shani and Mandisa are being relocated a recommendation from the Lion Species Survival Plan.
Mandisa will then join the Akron Zoo's male African lion, Tamarr, on exhibit.
At this time, the Akron Zoo says it does not have a breeding recommendation from the Lion Species Survival Plan for Mandisa and Tamarr.
African lions are indigenous to the grasslands and semi-arid plains of sub-Saharan Africa.
African lion populations are classified as vulnerable, with numbers declining due to habitat loss throughout Africa. Lions are Africa's largest carnivore.