ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two beloved residents of the ABQ BioPark are soon heading to a new home. Officials say they have found a more suitable habitat for the lions Kenya and Dixie as the ABQ BioPark begins renovations to its 40-year-old Catwalk.

Leanne Armstrong and her grandson, Theo, visited the ABQ BioPark Zoo so he could see the lions before they move. “We came today especially to see the lions because we heard they’re going to be relocated so we came especially to get a last glimpse of the lions before they move,” said Armstrong. She said while she will miss the lions, she’s glad to know they are going to an improved habitat.

The current lion habitat was built in 1984 and is about 3,000 square feet. The Catwalk renovations will include a new habitat that could host different lions late on. The project also includes modifications and expansion to improve the living spaces for the other cats as well.

Stephanie Stowell, ABQ BioPark Director says, “it will be in a state-of-the-art, best-in-class lion habitat for new lion inhabitants in the future. We’re looking at The Catwalk as an opportunity to provide better-improved habitats, more space for some of our existing animals.”

Kenya and Dixie have called Albuquerque their home since 2016, but ABQ BioPark officials say their habitat is outdated. As the zoo gets ready to upgrade the entire Catwalk, they say there isn’t enough space for the lions during the renovations. That is why they are going to send them to another zoo that will have a bigger area for them to roam around.

Officials say they are not releasing where the lions are going while they iron out the final details. They are aiming for a moving date for the lions in early March. The ABQ BioPark director says because lions are such big cats and have complex needs, it took three years to find the right home for them.