Samson the male African Lion was born in Tennessee in mid-March of 2013. He was relocated to Kalahari Zoo in Sandusky, Ohio where plans were made to create a permanent habitat exhibit space suitable for a lion. While this new exhibit is being established, Samson needed a place to stay. John Lewis, executive director of The Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center got the call. “Zoos throughout the country often collaborate with each other on the care and location of our animals.” says Lewis. When asked if the Zoo in Forest Park could “babysit” Samson for the season–he agreed. Driving 16 hours each way, John personally transported little Samson from Ohio to Massachusetts. Samson requires 24/7 care while still a newborn, with regular bottle feedings of feline formula, stimulation and play time and lots of sleep with his new friend Patty the micro-mini pig.
As of Samson’s 4 ½ week birthday on April 16, 2013 he will be on exhibit in his windowed nursery at The Zoo in Forest Park with occasional walks and talks daily. The Zoo in Forest Park welcomes much-needed donations in the form of monetary gifts towards Samson’s care – as well as clean, gently used or new stuffed animals.
Once October comes and the season is over, The Zoo in Forest Park will have the option to attempt to fund a permanent exhibit for Samson (and perhaps other African Lions). Factors in that decision will include the public’s desire to see Samson as a permanent resident of the Zoo in Forest Park, as well the ability to raise funds for a building and enclosure suitable for an African Lion in the New England climate.
A public survey, donation opportunities and more information about Samson can be found at Samson's Exhibit Page. Donations or stuffed animals can also be made in person at the zoo gift shop. The Zoo in Forest Park is open weekdays from 10am – 4pm and weekends from 10am-5pm weather permitting.