Three African Lion cubs are the “pride” of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, in Colorado Springs, Colorado! The two boys and their sister were born June 25 to mom, Lomela, and dad, Abuto.
The Zoo recently held a naming contest, for the furry trio, and asked for help from their fans and supporters. Names were submitted via facebook and the Zoo’s website. The Zoo will soon make a formal announcement on the decided-upon names.
Keepers say "Boy #1" (Image 1) takes after his grandfather, Elson. He’s the darkest in color, and he’s the biggest of the cubs. "Boy #2" (Image 2) is described as being 'really laid back'. Keepers say the Girl is the bravest (Image 3) and takes after her daddy, Abuto. She’s said to be the first to explore new toys and spaces.
ZooBorns helped spread the Zoo’s excitement over the cub’s births and featured the trio in early July: http://www.zooborns.com/zooborns/2015/07/lion-cheyenne-zoo.html
There was much anticipation at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, prior to the arrival of the healthy trio of cubs. Lions are pregnant for an average of 110 days. Zoo staff set up a camera system weeks prior to the birth, so they could monitor Lomela in two different nesting locations. Animal Keepers were able to observe the birth and keep close tabs on mom and cubs without disturbing them. The Zoo set up a second video camera monitor above the Lion Relaxation Room window, so guests could see the new additions to the Lion pride.
Abuto was specifically chosen to breed with Lomela because of their genetic compatibility. The breeding program is known within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as a Species Survival Plan, or SSP. The breeding of the Zoo’s Lions is important to the SSP and to the zoo. The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s hope is that guests will fall in love with their pride and fight to help save their wild counterparts.
“These cubs are truly miracle babies,” Amy Schilz, Lead Giraffe/Lion Keeper, said. “We weren’t sure whether Lomela would be able to conceive.”
African Lions are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There has been an estimated population decline of 42%, in the last 21 years. Noted causes for the decline include disease and human interference. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered the most significant threats to the species. The remaining populations are often geographically isolated from one another, which can lead to inbreeding, and consequently, reduced genetic diversity.
The cub's mother, Lomela:
The father of the trio, Abuto: