Our Museum Pride

How a diorama welcomed a few new wild residents.

NHMLA taxidermist Tim Bovard with a pair of lionesses nuzzling in the African Mammal Hall.

NHM has a few new wild residents, a lion and a pair of lionesses, king and queens of the jungle. That adorable nuzzling behavior has a purpose—it helps these animals establish, maintain, and strengthen social bonds. Unlike tigers, cheetahs, leopards, and all other big cats, which live and hunt alone, lions live in groups of about 16 members. Female lions and their cubs are the core group because they stay with the pride they were born into for their entire lives. Male lions are usually only with a pride for a period of months to years. The diorama features two, sporting well-groomed manes. This is the place for all kinds of enjoyable family gatherings.

See how Tim Bovard readies this cat for his new home in the diorama:

See the making of the lion diorama in NHM's African Mammal Hall:

What are some differences between African lions and the mountain lions that roam Griffith Park, including L.A.'s most famous feline, P-22? NHM's wildlife biologist and puma expert, Miguel Ordeñana, has the answers!