Bozo and Katrina

This article originally ran in the April 1969 issue of Zoo View, the quarterly publication of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.

No zoo hierarchy would be complete without a king of beasts. Bozo, a young African lion arrived at the Los Angeles Zoo in time to begin his reign one day before the facility opened. He shares his domain with Katrina, a young lioness who preceded him by a week.

Soon after arrival the two cats were adopted, appropriately, by Lions Club International, District 4. During these first months, the lion cubs and their animal keepers went through a difficult period of adjustment.

The six-month-old lions wanted to be carried and pampered every moment by the animal keepers. To return the pair to their night quarters was a major project. Bozo refused to walk, so a keeper picked him up and carried him inside.

Katrina, who has always been fascinated with her swimming pool, ignored all attempts at coaxing her out of the pool and continued playing and splashing until a keeper entered the water and carried her out.

The nearly three-year-old lions are showing many signs of maturity now, but still enjoy playing in and near their pool. Katrina, instead of going in the water herself, seems to derive great pleasure from pushing Bozo in. To successfully carry out this maneuver she sneaks up behind him, executes a quick sideswipe, then jumps back and watches with interest as he slides down the bank.

The unsuspecting male is always an easy target for this treatment because he spends most of his time leaning far over the bank doing his thing—fishing for paper cups and other floating debris donated by Zoo visitors.

But, Bozo does retaliate. He lays claim to every bone and other goodie that comes into the compound and asserts his masculinity when Katrina goes near his food. The two cats still share some fun and games, particularly when their keepers spray them with water on hot days.

The two lions will reach maturity in another year, and, hopefully, will produce some new lion cubs for exhibit in the Zoo.

Lions once ranged widely from Africa through regions of India. Now, because their numbers have been greatly diminished in the wild, they are confined mainly to protected areas of Africa.

Unlike most members of the cat family, lions travel in family groups and sometimes two, three or four members will combine forces to hunt their prey. They may reach weights of over 400 pounds and charge their targets at speeds of about 35 miles-per-hour. Although often called king of the jungle, lions inhabit grassy plains.


This article originally ran in the April 1969 issue of Zoo View, the award-winning quarterly publication of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. A subscription is complimentary with any level of membership.