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Two young African lions arrive at St. Louis Zoo

The arrival of two young African lions to the St. Louis Zoo represents an important step in future breeding populations.

The brother and sister lions are 17 months old and come from the Basel Zoo in Switzerland. The male is named Catali, the female Cabara.

The two are unrelated to any lions in North American zoos. Their move to St. Louis was recommended by the Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Zoo officials say that in the future, the lions may be recommended by the SSP to breed with lions that are unrelated.

African lions are not endangered, but are disappearing in some areas due to human activity, disease in the wild and the decline of animals they prey upon.

The lions will reside in Big Cat Country at the zoo.