The University of North Alabama is making news headlines.  No, it's not for its handling of classes amid COVID-19.  It has nothing to do with Confederate monuments or whether or not the institution believes Black lives matter.

Nope.

What has the school in the news?  Well, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) made a request for the school's mascot, a lion named Leo III, to be retired and transferred to a sanctuary.

The school's response? Absolutely not.

It is reported that the institution says its community has enjoyed visiting its lions on campus and that lions have a special place in University traditions. Lions are said to have lived on the campus as mascots since 1974.

Leo III has been on the campus since 2003.  He and his sister Una lived together until her death in June. Lions are said to have a lifespan of 10-14 years. Source. So, Una's death was not exactly untimely.  Therefore, there is nothing to suggest that Leo III's habitat is hazardous to his health.

In fact, the habitat was developed using plans from zoo facilities, which follow the guidelines established by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  According to the University of North Alabama's website, it has both indoor and outdoor areas for the lions, along with a kitchen and service areas for the caretakers.

The outdoor area includes boulders, streams, a waterfall, and a pond.  These are some of the basics of a lion's natural habitat, except it doesn't require the lion to actually hunt for food.

So, unless zoos across the country are being shut down, the likelihood of having Leo III and future lions removed from the campus are slim.

To view a live lion cam, click here.

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