KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A new lioness is now on the prowl at Zoo Knoxville and curators hope she’ll be Upepo’s new mate.

Back in November, three-year-old African lioness ‘Amara’ was brought in from South Carolina as a potential mate to Upepo, Zoo Knoxville’s male lion. For the last three months, curators have slowly been introducing the two to make sure they’re comfortable together.

The pair of lions went on exhibit for the first time this week.

“The last three days they have made leaps and bounds of progress – hopefully by the end of the day we’ll see them laying in close proximity to each other – that will be when I kind of breathe a sigh of relief – our plan is if everything goes well they are together – they will stay together and become our pair – a new pair.

Upepo was brought to Zoo Knoxville last summer from Oregon as part of the African lion species survival plan.

The name ‘Amara’ means everlasting. Hopefully, that’s good news for the pair’s future.