Lions will be making a return to New Orleans' Audubon Zoo. The largest private donation ever made to the Audubon Nature Institute will help in the cause.

Shipbuilding philanthropists Boysie Bollinger and his wife Joy have donated $5 million to fund the new habitat for African lions. The donation is the largest single gift the zoo has ever received from an individual or family.

The plan calls for a new 1.5 acre exhibit on a site that now houses the zoo's eland collection.

The lions' new "den" should be finished as early as 2018.

It has been nearly three years the zoo has been without lions. Bubba, a male, died of cancer in May 2013. A 19-year-old female named Cassie "retired" to the Audubon Species Survival Center later that year.