ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – After three years of waiting, two lions at the ABQ BioPark will be transferred to another accredited zoo. The African lions, Kenya and Dixie, will be transferred to allow the ABQ BioPark to renovate the Catwalk area of the zoo.

“Kenya and Dixie are among the most popular animals among staff and guests,” said ABQ BioPark Director Stephanie Stowell. “We will miss them, but we know they will receive excellent care in their new home. We’re looking forward to upcoming expansions at the BioPark that will benefit future lions and enable our park to be a leader in lion conservation and care.”

The ABQ BioPark explains the need for the Catwalk renovation, “the footprint of the current Catwalk doesn’t allow for the modifications necessary to renovate the lion’s indoor or outdoor habitat to exceed ever-evolving industry standards. Nor does it provide satisfactory space as an alternate home during any future renovation.”

Millions of dollars have been invested to create homes for the ABQ BioPark snow leopards and the Malayan tiger. Those exhibits will open later this year.

According to BioPark, other improvements to the Catwalk include “the removal of walls between adjacent habitats and the construction of climbing structures,” which will make more room for the smaller cats.

The sibling lions were born at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2013 and have lived at the ABQ BioPark since 2016. The ABQ BioPark said, “their relocation is coordinated through AZA’s African Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) to support the genetics, demographics, and long-term sustainability of lions in human care.”