Our Lions

The Monterey Zoo is home to four majestic African Lions. Jacob came from a big-cat sanctuary in Colorado. Zoo director, Charlie Sammut, learned that he was related to “Josef”, a founding animal of Monterey Zoo and VERY special part of Charlie’s life and career. In fact, the silhouetted lion in the logo is in honor of Josef. At the Monterey Zoo, Jacob was recently paired up with a lone lioness in keeping with zoo’s attempt to pair as many animals as possible to increase mental stimulation and quality of life.

Zeus and Athena came to Monterey Zoo in 2016. The previous owner of the brother and sister team was looking for a suitable home for the dynamic pair. One look at the new exhibit space at the Monterey Zoo and the search was over. Today, they are INSEPARABLE and spend hours chasing each other, playing and entertaining all who visit.

African Lion (Panthera Leo)

“The King of the Jungle”

Lions are the only cats that live in groups, which are called prides. Prides are family units that may include up to three males, a dozen or so females, and their young. All of a pride’s lionesses are related, and female cubs typically stay with the group as they age. Young males eventually leave and establish their own prides by taking over a group headed by another male. Males defend the pride’s territory, which may include some 100 square miles.


Lions consume a wide variety of prey, from wildebeest, impala, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and wild hogs to sometimes rhinos and hippos. They will also feed on smaller animals such as hares, birds and reptiles. Lions are also known to attack elephants when food is scarce.


Height: 3.9 ft. (male adult at shoulder), 3.6 ft. (female adult at shoulder)
Mass: 420 pounds (adult male), 280 pounds (adult female)
Lifespan: 10 – 14 years (Adult, In the wild)

Conservation Status

The lion population in Africa has been reduced by half since the early 1950s. Today, fewer than 21,000 remain in all of Africa.

Did you know?

Female lions are the pride’s primary hunters. They often work together to prey upon antelopes, zebras, wildebeest, and other large animals of the open grasslands. Many of these animals are faster than lions, so teamwork pays off.

Our Animals



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While providing exemplary animal care, Monterey Zoological Society is dedicated to providing an entertaining yet educational and conservation minded experience which fosters public awareness and respect for all wildlife.

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400 River Road, Salinas, CA 93908 Phone: 831-455-1901