Meet Brutus & Titus, Brookfield Zoo's New Lions

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The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, is bursting with pride to announce the arrival of its newest additions—two male African lions named Brutus and Titus. While the zoo has been closed to the public due to the current state of the country, animal care staff proceeded with its plan to have the two 4-year-old brothers transferred to Brookfield Zoo from HUtah’s Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City. They arrived on March 17.

Even though the zoo is currently closed, the public can tune in on Thursday, April 2 at 11:00 a.m. CST, to Brookfield Zoo’s Facebook Live chat of “Bringing the Zoo to You.” During the segment, Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programs for CZS, will talk about Brutus and Titus, share facts about African lions, and answer questions from the public. Those who miss the live chat will be able to watch it on the zoo’s Facebook page or YouTube channel.

“Before we had to close the zoo, guests were inquiring as to when we would be getting lions again following the devastating loss of our previous pair,” said Zeigler. “We wanted to share some happy news during this trying time and are looking forward to when guests can visit the zoo to see Brutus and Titus.

When the zoo reopens, guests will be able to see Brutus and Titus along the Big Cat walkway. Born on February 24, 2016, the two lions each have distinguishing features to tell them apart. Brutus’s mane is long, dark, and straight. Titus’s mane is shorter than his brother’s as well as lighter in color and slightly frizzier. In addition, Titus is a few inches taller than Brutus. Animal care specialists are still getting to know the lions, but have noticed slight differences in their personalities—Brutus seems to be the calmer of the two, while Titus is more active with enrichment items. The brothers are very bonded and often sleep next to one another.

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Brutus and Titus came to Brookfield Zoo based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ African Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP), in which the zoo is a participating institution. An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited North American zoos and aquariums. Each plan manages the species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Some recommendations are for breeding a pair. In other situations, like in Brutus and Titus’s case, there is a need to locate a zoo that is willing to provide a home for an animal(s) until the SSP program makes a breeding recommendation.

Those interested in helping care for Brutus and Titus at Brookfield Zoo can contribute to the Animal Adoption program. Two options are available. For $35, a recipient receives the Basic Package, which includes a 5-inch x 7-inch color photograph of either Brutus or Titus, a personalized certificate of adoption, an African lion fact sheet, Animal Adoption program decal, and an invitation to the annual Animal Adoption Evening (ticket purchase necessary). The $60 Plush Package includes all the benefits of the Basic Package, plus an 8-inch plush lion, and four free tickets to the annual Animal Adoption Evening. To purchase one of the packages, visit CZS.org/FeaturedCreature.

African lions are listed as “vulnerable” according to the Red List of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). The population continues to decline primarily due to hunting, loss of habitat due to residential, commercial, and agricultural development, and the bushmeat trade. Also, according to the Species Survival Commission, one of the latest threats is the rising demand by traditional Asian medicine. With the decline in tiger populations, the illegal trade for bones and body parts is shifting to lions as an alternative. More than half of the remaining lions, which experts estimate to be between 20,000 and 30,000 individuals, reside in only 11 key populations contained within protected areas.



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Posted: 4/1/2020 2:18:29 PM by Sean Keeley


CZS & Brookfield Zoo

Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world. Learn more about the animals, people, and research that make up CZS here at our blog.
 

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