Leo III and Una celebrate sweet sixteen

By News Editor Ciera Golliver

Although UNA has many traditions, there is no tradition as unique as celebrating the legacy of UNA’s African lions.

Members from the UNA community met April 11 at 10 a.m. for a birthday party for Leo III and Una in front of the George H. Carroll habitat. The event had face painting, a jumping house and free snacks.

Although UNA held the event April 11, Leo III and Una will not turn 16 until Nov. 18. The annual event takes place close to April 14 to celebrate the birthday of Leo I.

Leo III and Una have been members of the UNA family since 2002. Lion caretaker Anne Howard said in a Flor-Ala article the lions lived in her home for a few months when the university first got them.

In 2012, totalprosports.com ranked Leo III and UNA No. 1 for the 25 Best Real Animal Mascots in College Football.

“In the year or so that my family and I have been living here, we’ve grown quite fond of these beautiful animal mascots,” said President Kenneth Kitts in a 2016 Flor-Ala article. “I often refer to them as our neighbors.”

Although most people cannot have the view of the lions the Kitts family has, community members are still able to observe the lions through the lioncam on the website.

For more information on getting involved with the lions, visit una.edu/lioncam.