US zoo takes lion from Qatar royal family

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Simba, a four-year-old male lion once owned by the royal family of Qatar, has found a new home at the Detroit Zoo. 

The zoo said that the Qatari royal family received Simba as a gift, but after a few years felt he would be better off in a more appropriate environment. 

"The owners recognised that they didn't have the expertise to properly care for lions and made the sensible decision to find Simba a good home," said Detroit Zoological Society curator of mammals Robert Lessnau. 

"We're happy to provide sanctuary for Simba at the Detroit Zoo."

Now part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Programme for lions, Simba will contribute to this important cooperative management plan to ensure genetically healthy, diverse and self-sustaining populations of threatened and endangered species in zoos.

Simba joins the Detroit Zoo's two female lions, Bikira and Erin, the zoo said in a statement. 

In the future, the AZA will identify another female lion as a mate for Simba with the intent of breeding and starting a family, the statement added.

Detroit Zoo visitors can see the lions year-round in their recently remodelled 7,500 sq ft habitat, which features a  glass wall for a closer view of the big cats.

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