Curtis, a 19-year-old male lion, and O’Neal, a 16-year-old female, both of whom live at a Japanese zoo in the Tohoku region, are two very talented lions. They produce unique patterns of scratches and bites that are then transformed by Okayama Prefecture’s Momotaro and Japan Blue, two of Japan’s top jean manufacturers, into abstract designs for ten unique pairs of distressed jeans.

The 2016 edition zoo jeans are one aspect of a revitalization campaign for Japan’s Tohoku region

Zoo Jeans were first developed by volunteer organizations at Sendai City’s Tohoku Gakuin University two years ago.

This venture supported the Hitachi Kamine Zoo in Ibaraki Prefecture and was very successful. Lions, tigers, and bears received toys wrapped in denim, which after they clawed and bit to their hearts’ content. The resulting jeans were extremely pricey and very popular.

The renewal campaign is further fostered by Sendai’s Loft store, whose owner has generously offered their fourth floor “activity space” as an area to promote new goods and services created by local students. This year marks the debut of the 2016 Zoo Jeans project. In an effort to promote this important project, Loft has posted photos of the lion’s unique handiwork on Twitter.

Next month the Zoo Jeans will be sold online

The ten pairs of jeans will be auctioned on August 1st at a starting price of 98,000 yen (US $957.55), plus tax, per pair.

The hefty price tag will hopefully garner ample proceeds, all of which are slated for animal environment preservation activities presented at Yagiyama Zoological Park.

Lion artists, Curits and O’Neal, may never design jean patterns again or receive ‘royalties’ for their artistic contributions to this clever, fund-raising initiative.

Promoters can only hope it will be even more successful than the original project that ran its course in 2014. Indirectly, however, the lions do benefit as residents of a progressive and caring zoo, whose caretakers are always seeking ways to improve its service to animals.