LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) — Axelle is the newest addition to the family of animals at the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin. She’s not on display to the public yet, but she’s worth the wait.
The 7-year-old African lion came from another zoo in Texas where she was born.
Celia Falzone, General Curator at the Ellen Trout Zoo said Axelle has been at their zoo for a couple of weeks, but she’s currently getting acclimated to the new area.
“Right now she’s getting used to her new home and her new caregivers and just getting comfortable with everything,” Falzone said.
Axelle has been very calm, responsive and playful and Falzone said she seems to be doing a good job transitioning to her new home.
“These cats can all be very individual, some take longer than others to get used to where they are… we let them kind of tell us what their schedule is,” Falzone said.
“She’s a nice cat, she’s a really large female lion… she will eventually be meeting the male lion that was raised here and then they’ll be out together further down the road. We’re excited to have her here and he’s gonna be excited to have a new mate,” Falzone said.
Axelle’s relocation from her original zoo was part of a species survival plan, in which the zoos work cooperatively with each other to help preserve the population. They find compatible matches for the lions based on genetics and behavioral factors.
Although the lions have not met yet, they are aware of each other’s presence.
“They’re social animals, they hear each other and both know they’re there,” Falzone said.
The mate that Axelle has been paired with, Ashur, was born at the Ellen Trout Zoo and is the son of the late Mashaka and Adia.
When Ashur was a cub, he was snow-white and gained popularity around the world, but his coat later turned tan.
Keep up with the Ellen Trout Zoo to see when Axelle will make her public debut!