The four African Lion cubs born at Switzerland’s Zoo Basel in November are enjoying the great outdoors and behaving just like a miniature pride. While the cubs play-fight and explore, dad exerts his fatherly influence and the females offer gentle guidance to the exuberant youngsters.
You first met these four male cubs on ZooBorns last month, when Zoo Basel announced that two of their female Lions, Okoa and Uma, had each delivered two cubs just four days apart. Much like wild Lions in a pride, the females are raising their cubs together. In fact, zoo officials will need a DNA test to determine which cubs came from which mother.
The cubs’ father, Mbali, remains with the females and the cubs (males are typically removed from females and very young cubs in zoo settings). Because Mbali, Okoa, and Uma came to Zoo Basel from African wildlife reserves, their genetic contributions to the European Endangered Species Programme are highly valued. Wild African Lion populations have declined dramatically in the last few decades, largely due to human activity. Zoo-managed populations will become even more important if these declines cannot be slowed.
See more photos of the cubs below the fold.