Josh (lion)

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This article is about the African lion at the Birmingham Zoo. For other uses, see Josh (disambiguation).
Josh in March 2023

Josh (born July 25, 2015 at the San Antonio Zoo in San Antonio, Texas) is a male African lion (Panthera leo) residing at the Birmingham Zoo. He arrived in Birmingham in April 2022 and is exhibited in a large enclosure adjoining the zoo's Predator Building.

As part of a nationally-accredited African Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP), Josh was to be introduced to 16-year-old female Akili. Akili, who had already born five cubs, was contracepted against another pregnancy because her genes were already well-represented in the population managed under the SSP. Their cohabitation was intended to foster other benefits of companionship.

In preparation for their meeting, Josh underwent a full quarantine period and was acclimated to his exhibit area gradually. The process gave both lions an opportunity to smell each other's presence before visual interactions were arranged through a protective mesh.

The two were fully introduced in what was to be their shared exhibit area in the Trails of Africa exhibit on July 18. Their introduction proved violent, and Akili died from her injuries. No announcement was made about whether the zoo would seek to transfer Josh.