African Lioness, “Imani”, Turns Three!

Posted July 16, 2014

Birthday Party at the Cincinnati Zoo, at 10 a.m.

imaniCINCINNATI – “Imani”, the Cincinnati Zoo’s female African lion is turning three on Thursday, July 17.  To celebrate, the Zoo is hosting a lioness birthday party starting at 10 a.m. in the Zoo’s Africa exhibit.  Guests are invited to come see the birthday girl and watch as she enjoys new enrichment items and a birthday cake fit for a lion (king)! The cake, which consists of frozen and pureed meat, was made just for the celebration by the Zoo’s animal nutritionist and commissary staff. 

 “As one the Cincinnati Zoo’s newest “sweet-hearts”, we are excited to make Imani’s first birthday here in Cincinnati a true celebration,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “Visitors can come out on Thursday at 10 a.m., and watch as she enjoys her special party and sing Happy Birthday to a lion, which doesn’t happen every day.”

Imani was born at the St. Louis Zoo on July 17, 2011, and came to the Cincinnati Zoo as the result of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Program (SSP).  Imani was introduced to the Zoo’s male lion, “John,” earlier this year and the pair have been excellent companions.

Through its field conservation programs, the Cincinnati Zoo helps fund activities at the Kenyan Lale’enok Resource Centre, which was constructed in 2011, in Kenya, Africa. Owned by the Olkirimatian Women’s Group in the South Rift Valley of Kenya, the Lale’enok provides the local Maasai community with a forum to engage with partner scientists and conservationists to support both wildlife conservation and thriving livelihoods.  The Maasai people maintain their coexistence with lions and other wildlife through a community-based conservation program called Rebuilding the Pride. A partnership between the South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO), the African Conservation Centre (ACC), and the Cincinnati Zoo, Rebuilding the Pride works to restore a healthy lion population while reducing the loss of livestock to lions. Zoo guests are invited to participate in the story by purchasing a symbol of this coexistence—beaded bracelets handcrafted by Maasai women and sold in the Zoo’s Lale’enok, inside of the AFRICA exhibit, as well as the Zoo Gift Shop.  All funds raised go back to the Maasai community.  For more information please visit us online at