Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo Lion cub quadruplets just turned two months old and that meant it was time for a vet check. Each cub was carried to the exam table by keepers, held just like their mother would, as that comforting position relaxes them.
Now weighing in at 21 to 23 pounds (9.5 to 10.4 kg) each, the wriggly babies are getting harder to handle, so each were anesthetized for a part of this latest checkup. One cub gave a healthy hiss to the immobilizer mask!
Each of the cubs has most of their baby teeth, which means they are starting to sample solid foods like ground turkey and raw beef. Vets noticed that their little tummies felt less full than they did at their last exam, which is likely because now that they eat some solid foods, they aren’t filling themselves up on mom’s milk as much as they used to.
Each were measured from head to tail to track their growth. All are on target, a positive sign that the zoo can start planning for their debut when outdoor temperatures reach a minimum of 50 degrees. Until then, they’ll continue to live in an off-view maternity den where they can bond and develop in a more controlled environment.
Photo Credit: Photo 2,3,4,5,6: Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo, Photo 1, 7,8: Ryan Hawk
See a video of these babies in action, find more pictures of the cubs and read about the species and conservation efforts to save them after the fold.
The Lions at Woodland Park Zoo belong to the
South African subspecies, Panthera leo krugeri. Known as the Transvaal lion, it ranges in
Southern Sahara to South Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest belt, in
grassy plains, savanna and open woodlands. These lions range in weight from 260
to 400 pounds. Although not presently endangered, the future of African lions
is uncertain, particularly as the growth in human population continues to
impact lion populations.
Through its Wildlife Survival Fund, Woodland Park Zoo supports the Ruaha Carnivore Project through the Lion Species Survival Plan Conservation Campaign. The project works in Tanzania to mitigate human conflict with lions and other large carnivores that share the Ruaha landscape, while collecting baseline data on lion populations to help shape lion and large carnivore conservation.
Watch below as the cubs play a little football.