By SALINA POST
There's a new male in town and keepers at Rolling Hills Zoo (RHZ) hope sisters Zalika and Kamali tickle his fancy.
RHZ announced today that Oskar, a three-year-old male African lion, has completed his 30-day quarantine and has joined the zoo's Pride of the Prairie exhibit.
Initially, Oskar, and nine-year-old sisters Zalika and Kamali will be kept separated as they begin to get acquainted. Oskar will spend the first few days adjusting to his new home.
"It may take time before he is comfortable leaving his sleeping quarters, so guests are asked to be patient and kind with him. Once he is ready, guests will find him in the day room while the females are outside, rotating daily to allow each time outside while they get to know each other. This 'dating' process will take time, but once the keepers feel comfortable with putting them together, they will do so," the zoo explained in a news release.
At three years of age, Oskar is just reaching sexual maturity and unlikely to breed until the age of four or five, RHZ noted.
Phone books, zoo kongs, and scents are among Oskar's favorite enrichment items.
“Oskar really enjoys shredding paper and cardboard boxes, and loves rhino hay, rolling around in it and getting all stinky,” said Siarra Abker, RHZ vet tech. “Motivated by food, Oskar is eager to train and happy to do anything his keepers ask.”
And apparently Oskar isn't just a tough guy.
“While still trying to prove he is a big tough lion to everyone, as well as himself, Oskar is a sweetheart and enjoys spending time with his keepers, but only on his terms,” Abker said.
Oskar was quite shy when he was born, but has since become playful and confident. Nonetheless, he remains hesitant of new things and is taking his time checking out the Pride of the Prairie and warming up to new people, according to information from RHZ.
Oskar was one of two cubs in his litter when born at the Denver Zoo in 2020. His mother, Kamara, and father, Tobias, along with his sister, Araali, still live at the Denver Zoo. There, his pride consisted of seven lions: four females and three males. Oskar's half-brother, Tatu (both offspring of Tobias), recently made the move to the Topeka Zoo.