Lion

Lion Cubs Show Their Playful Side

11705136_10153476435870908_2892998893198656213_nFour Lion cubs born June 8 at Oregon’s Wildlife Safari are showing off their playful side!

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11754235_10153476435930908_4057571369824301940_nPhoto Credit:  Wildlife Safari

The cubs, three male and one female, have already more than doubled their birth weight, a sign that they are being well cared for by their one-year-old mother, Serafina.

Zoo keepers expect the cubs to emerge from their den in a few weeks, and the public will get a chance to see them in person at that time.

Once widespread across much of Africa, the Middle East, and southwestern Asia, Lions now live in fragmented populations in eastern and southern Africa.  Currently listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Lion populations are rapidly decreasing, with losses estimated at 30-50% every 20 years in the latter half of the 20th century. 

Conservation organizations are using a variety of tactics to support the world’s wild Lions, including managed zoo breeding through the Species Survival Plan, protection of livestock to reduce retaliatory killings, and working with local people to protect lions through ecotourism.  


Lion Cubs' First Adventure at Lee Richardson Zoo

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Five African Lion cubs were born, May 17, at Lee Richardson Zoo, in Garden City, Kansas.

The cubs (four boys and one girl) are the second litter for mom, Amali, and dad, Razi.  Amali was born at Lee Richardson Zoo on August 24, 2005. Razi arrived in Garden City in December 2007, at 16 months of age, from the Denver Zoo.

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4_IMG_5696Photo Credits: Lee Richardson Zoo

Recently, on July 7, the five cubs were allowed out for their first adventures into their enclosure with the adoring public present.  Momma lioness, Amali, scanned the area with a watchful eye before letting them venture too far from the barn.  If they journeyed someplace in their habitat that she didn’t want them to go, she would give a quick snarl which brought them in line.  A train of cubs, that was quite adorable, formed as Amali guided her cubs around, while zoo guests watched the cubs’ antics from the viewing area. 

Not only did the cubs get to go exploring for all to see, but they also received their names.  Garden City residents and Lee Richardson Zoo fans put in a total of 581 votes towards the naming of the male cubs. The winning names were Kito, Bahati, Usiku, and Jasiri. 

Dad, Razi, chose the female’s name.  Three boxes were put out for him to select from.  Each held the same treat to remove any bias.  Between the red, green, and blue boxes, Razi chose the red--thereby dubbing his daughter Lulu.

Lee Richardson Zoo is proud to participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan to help maintain genetically diverse populations of vulnerable and endangered species in zoos.  Zoo lions serve as ambassadors for their counterparts, drawing attention to their issues in the wild.  Wild lion populations are dropping in numbers due to loss of habitat and introduced diseases such as canine distemper.  As part of the Species Survival Plan some of these cubs may eventually find homes at other facilities in the future. 

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Three Lion Cubs Snuggle Up at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado is thrilled to welcome three roly-poly African Lion cubs! The cubs were born on June 25 to first-time parents Lomela, a seven-year-old female, and Abuto, a three-year-old male. Mom and the cubs—two males and one female—appear to be healthy and doing well.

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“Lomela and her babies are currently off-exhibit in the Lion building to give them time to bond and the cubs time to grow,” Dina Bredahl, animal care manager, said. “The cubs are nursing and are quite active for being less than a week old.”

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 can now 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 zoo guests can see the new additions to the lion pride.

Bredahl says, “If they remain healthy, as they appear to be now, we will take a hands-off approach and let Lomela take care of her babies without intervention.” In keeping with zoo tradition, the Lion cubs will not be named until they are at least 30 days old.

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First Vet Visit for Taronga's Lion Cub Trio

Lion cubs vaccination_SM_7.4.15 (38)Three Lion cubs born at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo on February 28 had their first veterinary visit this week, and all were pronounced healthy and strong.

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Lion cubs vaccination_SM_7.4.15 (30)Photo Credit:  Taronga Western Plains Zoo
 

The cubs, a male and two females, are the first Lion cubs ever born at the zoo, so the staff is especially thrilled with the new arrivals.  The cubs have not yet been named.  This is the first litter for mother Maya and father Lazarus.    

Maya and Lazarus were introduced in 2014 and breeding behavior was observed almost immediately after the introduction.  Staff monitored Maya carefully throughout her pregnancy, and keepers have been monitoring Maya and her cubs via a video camera in their den since birth, allowing them time to bond together on their own. 

The staff is taking a hands-off approach, allowing Maya to use her natural mothering instincts.

At their veterinary check-up this week, the cubs each weighed about 11 pounds, more than doubling their birth weights.  In the coming weeks, the cubs will begin to eat solid food and explore their surroundings. 

Wild African Lions are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with populations decreasing due to human-animal conflict, depleted prey base, and habitat loss.  

See more photos of the cubs below.

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Sacramento Zoo’s Lion Cubs Join Their Pride

Photos by Erik Bowker (2)ZooBorns introduced our readers to a trio of Lion Cubs, at the Sacramento Zoo, in November 2014.  In January, we provided a follow-up, with pictures from their first days on public exhibit. The cubs and their parents are back, and we have awesome new pics of their life as a family unit. 

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Photos by Erik Bowker

Photos by Erik Bowker (5)Photo Credits: Erik Bowker (Images 1,2,3,4,5); Andrys Basten (Images 6,7,8,9,10)

The African Lion family of five has been together for a month now, and the interactions between the cubs and parents are amazing to watch. Lions are different from other cat species, living in prides instead of being solitary in their behavior. The 16-week-old trio of cubs are learning from their parents, testing boundaries and sometimes being scolded by mom and dad. They are learning how to be one of the pride, what their roles are and the hierarchy between the cubs themselves.

The cubs also learn specific behaviors from the same sex parent. The male cub pays close attention to how his sire acts, and you'll often see them spending time alone together as the cub learns how to be a male lion. The same goes for the pair of female cubs and time with their mom.

Along with chewing on grass, sticks and sometimes each other, the cubs are nursing less and starting to eat whole food following mom's example at mealtime. This switch will help the cubs get the nutrition they need during their rapid growth spurts. 

The extra barrier in front of the lion exhibit, at the Zoo, has now been removed so visitors can enjoy a better view of the pride.

More amazing pics, below the fold!

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Omaha's Lion Cubs Play All Day

10865875_10152984218455851_3848871017403495324_oThree Lion cubs born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium on November 21 recently showed off their playful side for the cameras. The two male cubs and one female cub were born to first-time mother Ahadi, who is providing good maternal care.   

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10339467_10152984218105851_2433573802110591640_oPhoto Credit:  Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo

Like all young Lions, the cubs spend their days nipping, pouncing, and practicing their hunting skills, to the delight of zoo visitors.  The cubs are artists, too – zoo keepers brushed blue and pink paint on the cubs’ feet, and the cubs walked across canvas boards to create one-of-a-kind paintings, which are sold in the zoo’s gift shop.

The cubs began life weighing just three to four pounds, but are growing fast.  Their 6-year-old mother Ahadi weighs 335 pounds, and their father, Mr. Big, is 15 years old and weighs 560 pounds.   

The breeding of Ahadi and Mr. Big was recommended by the Species Survival Plan of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums as part of a nationwide effort to breed Lions of known lineage.

African Lions are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Over the last 20 years the Lion population is estimated to have declined from 30% to 50%. African Lions live in sub-Saharan Africa with the majority living in eastern and southern Africa.

See more photos of the playful cubs below.

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It's a Girl, a Girl, and Another Girl for Cincinnati's Lion Family

Lioncubs-2_loThe Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s three lion cubs, born November 13 to three-year-old mother Imani and four-year-old father John, got their first health checkup last week.  The zoo’s veterinary staff and animal care team weighed the feisty felines, administered vaccines, and determined that all cubs are female!

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10896179_10152957413230479_622878698910617856_oPhoto Credit:  Cinncinnati Zoo

Now that genders are known, the zoo is inviting fans to suggest names on the zoo’s Facebook and Twitter accounts using the tag #CZBGLionCubs. 

“The three cubs behaved just as you would expect during their first wellness physical.  Being handled by strange two-legged creatures who poked and examined them, all the while being separated from the safety and security of mom, the cubs hissed and tried to get away,” said Josh Charlton, Curator of Mammals.

According to vet staff, the cubs are healthy and right on track with each weighing about 20 pounds. The next big step will be to introduce John to Imani and the cubs.  “The introduction process has already begun.  John and the cubs have had positive interactions during several nose-to-nose ‘howdy mesh’ sessions in the past two weeks. We’ll continue to monitor their behavior and will put the pride together when the time is right,” said Charlton.

“African Lions in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate. These cubs will be great ambassadors for their species and inspire people to act for wildlife,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “We look forward to seeing the whole Lion family out in the Africa exhibit together this spring.”

Imani was born at the Saint Louis Zoo and came to the Cincinnati Zoo as the result of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Lion Species Survival Program (SSP).  She was introduced to John earlier this year, and this is the first litter for both of them.

Lions are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as the result of climate change, hunting, and habitat loss. Following a review of the best available scientific information, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed listing the African Lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency’s analysis found that Lions are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.

See more photos of the female feline trio below.

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Sacramento Lion Cub Trio Going Public

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The Sacramento Zoo’s Lion Cub trio is now on public exhibit! The two female cubs and one male cub are now exploring the exhibit, with curiosity, under the watchful eyes of their mother.

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10560376_10152653460894151_6279513775823864708_oPhoto Credits: Amanda Watters

The mother and her nine week old cubs will have periodic access to the exhibit, giving them time for short romps and lengthy catnaps, as well as time away from the public. Zookeepers will be continuing off-exhibit introductions of the sire to the dam and her cubs, creating one family unit over the next few weeks.

ZooBorns introduced the cubs to readers, back in November. The cubs were born October 24. The lioness has been taking excellent care of her charges, in the behind-the-scenes dens, as they learn to follow her (which is important in Lion society as prides are often on the move) and develop all their skills.

Unlike other cat species that are fairly solitary, Lions live in groups or “prides.” If multiple females in a pride have cubs, they will pool them into a larger cub communal group called a “crèche.” These females will take turns caring and overseeing the crèche, until the cubs are around two years of age.   

Lions usually spend 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping and resting, devoting the remaining hours to hunting, courting and protecting their territory. They are highly territorial and keep in contact with one another by roaring loud enough to be heard up to five miles away. African Lions are excellent hunters. Although they are mostly nocturnal, they are opportunistic and will hunt anytime, day or night. Females do 85 to 90 percent of the pride’s hunting while the males patrol the territory and protect the pride.

Continue reading "Sacramento Lion Cub Trio Going Public" »


Lion Cub Trio Happy and Healthy

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The Sacramento Zoo was excited to announce the birth of three African Lion cubs on October 24th!  The cubs are now four weeks old. They have learned to walk and are beginning to play with one another, and their first-time mother is continuing to do a fantastic job caring for her cubs.

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Lion-23Dec13 Credit Erik Bowker (25)Photo Credits: Amanda Watters (Image 1,2,3); Erik Bowker (Image 4: "Proud parents")

“So far, we are pleased with the progress of the female and her cubs. Females would naturally take some ‘maternity leave’ from the rest of the pride for the first 4-8 weeks,” said Dr. Adrian Fowler, Acting Director of the Sacramento Zoo. “Our own female will be off-exhibit for a while to allow her the same kind of mother-cub bonding. If all goes well, we are hopeful that the cubs will be ready to explore their exhibit in the weeks running up to Christmas.”

A female lion’s gestation is 3 ½ months with a litter typically ranging from two to four cubs. They are born with eyes closed and rely entirely on their mother for the first few months. Mother and cubs will be inside the den, away from public view, while the babies gain strength and coordination.

Lions usually spend 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping and resting, devoting the remaining hours to hunting, courting and protecting their territory. They protect their territory and keep in contact with one another by roaring loud enough to be heard up to five miles away.  African Lions are excellent hunters. Although they are mostly nocturnal, they are opportunistic and will hunt anytime, day or night. Females do 85 to 90 percent of the pride’s hunting, while the males patrol the territory and protect the pride. 

Lions are classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, but they are considered regionally endangered in West Africa, where an estimated 42% of major lion populations are declining. Their habitats are now only in game reserves in Eastern and Southern Africa. Loss of genetic diversity from inbreeding, fragmentation, diseases and habitat loss are all problems that continue to threaten this species. Diseases from domestic cats and dogs have also made an impact on wild populations.

The Sacramento Zoo participates in the Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP). The Lion SSP works with captive populations to increase awareness of the problems that face this big cat.


Pride at Philly Zoo Now Complete

Lion Reunion

In early September, ZooBorns introduced you to four new African Lion Cubs, at the Philadelphia Zoo.  The cubs have now been joined by their father in the zoo’s First Niagara Big Cat Falls exhibit.

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10368807_10152478806807934_2393254229883012435_oPhoto Credits: Philadelphia Zoo

Gradual reintroductions between the cubs and their father proved successful. The cubs are now in residence with their five-year-old dad, ‘Makini’, and the entire pride can be seen together, regularly, in the exhibit.

Two of the cubs were born on June 25, 2014, and the other two were born the next day on the 26th.  The proud mother is four-year-old ‘Tajiri’. They are the first lion cubs born at the Philadelphia Zoo since 1996!

The Philadelphia Zoo conducted a contest, through social media, and the public was able to cast votes for their favorite names for the cubs.  ‘Mali’, ‘Kataba’, ‘Sabi’, and ‘Msinga’ are already known to be as unique as their new monikers.  Kataba has marks on both front feet, Mali has no dye marks, Msinga has a lighter mark on the left front foot, and Sabi has a mark on the left hind foot.

The African Lion is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List. Main threats to lions include: killing to protect livestock and depletion of their prey. Habitat loss and conversion for agriculture have also led to a decline in some population sizes.

The Philadelphia Zoo works in partnership with the Ongava Research Centre (ORC), part of one of the largest private nature reserves in Namibia, Africa. Their research projects closely monitor the activities of lions in the wild, specifically, how lions form groups and how those groups expand and disperse.