These three littile lion cubs were born on October 9 at Zoo Santa Fe in Medelin, Colombia. By November 4, they were ready to come out to play and pose for pictures under the watchful eye of their mother. The babies stuck close to her, nursing or trying their best to swat at each other.
Female lions give birth after a 3.5 month gestation. Births of 2-3 cubs are most common but a litter can include 4. Cubs are entiely dependant on their mother for the first six weeks; then they begin to eat meat. They continue to nurse until they are approximately 6 months old, but in the wild, they stay with their mother for up to two years.
Lions are not officially on the endangered list but may be added soon. They are difficult to count, but the African lion's poulation is estimated to have dropped by nearly 50% in the last 30 years, mostly due to the market for lion-skn rugs and trophies. In addition, habitat losss and disease as well as hunting them for bushmeat and use in African medicine has added considerably to the threats. There is also retaliatory killings due to livestock which had been killed by lions.
Photo Credit: Zoo Santa Fe