Our Lions Story

Central Coast Zoo is proud to be home to a pride of 6 lions which came to us in 2021 after retirement from the Stardust Circus.

Stardust circus have been breeding and working with lions for over 20 generations of animals in Australia. To say they will forever be a part of the Stardust family is no understatement.

These animals were raised and cared for by their trainer Matthew from the time they were cubs to adult. Travelling around the state of NSW with Mathew by their side these animals delighted a generation of children. Life in the circus is an enriching life for any animal. Spending hours with your trainer everyday and being mentally engaged gives the animals a very positive and rewarding life experience. This has resulted in a well adjusted pride that have settled incredibly well into this new unexpected direction their life has taken.

We were incredibly proud to be able to offer a home to all six animals which meant that this family who have been together since they were cubs did not have to be separated.

The Central Coast Zoo's Savannah Sanctuary exhibit is home to various species of African animals including the pride of African Lions as well as meerkats, ostrich, camels and some more new species coming soon. The Lion’s exhibit is over 3 times larger than is required for this many African Lions and has a series of climbing platforms and many scratching poles with areas to hang toys and ice blocks. We constructed specialised night quarters for the animals to sleep at night also.

The Lions are settling in very well. We would like to thank Stardust Circus for entrusting us to look after their beloved animals into retirement and we are excited to educate our guests about African Lions in the wild and wildlife conservation worldwide.


Our Pride:

Maasai was born in 2013, making him 8 years of age. He is the respected head of this family unit and by nature is assertive, strong, wise and courageous.

He is the largest lion in the pride weighing in just under 200kg. He has a big appetite and eats about 40kg of meat each week.... whoa!!


Zimbi was born in 2012, making her 9 years of age. She is the Queen lioness in our pride of African Lions
She is the more sophisticated lioness compared to the other girls in our pride, but whoa - she is also full of sass... she knows she is the Queen and likes to flaunt it. She can sometimes be sneaky and tries to out-smart the staff and other lions in the pride from time to time.

She loves to eat and has a little belly at the moment!! She likes to jump up on to her bed to eat her dinner and pretend like we cannot see her gorging herself. Even though she loves her food - she is actually the most gentle feeder in the pride not causing any fuss at feeding time.


Zaire was born in 2012, making him 9 years of age, he is sibling to Queen Zimbi.

He is the trouble-maker in the Pride and always likes to challenge the King of the pride, Maasai. He wants to be at the Top of the Hierarchy, but Maasai puts Zaire into the ranks. He likes to scare people with his huff, puff and roar! He is very protective of the females in the pride also.

Zaire is a ferocious feeder and likes to guard and protect his meals. He makes a lot of noise and fuss at feeding time. His favourite food is chicken!


Nairobi is the sister and littermate to the pride leader Maasai. Nairobi and Maasai were born in 2013, making them both 8 years of age.

She is the largest lioness in the pride and by nature is a relaxed and chilled out. She is also very independent, straight-forward and shows upmost respect to her family unit.

She is slightly fussier with her food compared to the other lions in the pride, she prefers red meat over chicken.

Nairobi was named after the capital city of Kenya, a country in Southern Africa. The name Nairobi roughly translated to "cool water"


Akita was born in 2015, making her 6 years of age.

She is the most playful lion in the pride and is a real character. She loves to play and chase balls, rumble with her toys and the play sneaky games with the other lions in the pride. She is also a little cheeky and likes to play more with the boys than the girls!
She likes her chicken and turkey, but eats almost anything!! She eats between 2.5-4kg in a single feed session.


Hulk was born in 2015, making him 6 years of age. He is littermate to lioness Akita.

Hulk is a very special lion, he was born with a congenital eye condition in his right eye, we dont know the cause of the problem or why he was born with this condition but we do know that it doesn't let it get in the way of his everyday life, he can do everything the other lions can do.

We have an experienced Veterinarian and a Veterinary Nurse on staff at the Central Coast Zoo and Hulk has weekly Veterinary check ups on his eye and overall health. We have scheduled ongoing check ups with another Veterinarian that specialises in animal eye health also to see if there is anything extra we can do for our beautiful boy as he gets older.

He is a happy-go-lucky lion and is the most affectionate Lion in the pride - both towards with the other lions in the pride and also with humans. He is a lover not a fighter!!

Talking of love, he also loves his food and is very food motivated. His favourite food is chicken but doesn't like turkey?