Lion

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

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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.


Lion Triplets Get Cuter Every Day

2014-11-01RHawk018LionCubsWoodland Park Zoo’s triplet Lion cubs are doing what cubs are supposed to do:  grow, play, and get cuter every day.

The African Lion cubs, all males, were born at the zoo on October 24 to 5-year-old mother Adia and 7-year-old father, Xerxes--the first litter between the parents and the first for the father.

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Photo Credit:  Ryan Hawk 

The cubs and mom remain in an off-view maternity den where they can bond in comfortable, quiet surroundings, and continue to be under the watchful eyes of zookeepers via a den cam. “Adia was an attentive mom to her first litter of 2012,” said Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. “It’s very encouraging to see her demonstrating good maternal care for this litter as well.”

The cubs’ eyes are now fully open, and the little Lions have more than doubled their weight since birth. According to Ramirez, the cubs currently weigh in at 6½ pounds for the smallest cub and nearly 8 pounds for the largest cub.

“It’s always fun to watch Lion cubs growing up and discovering their world. They’re a little clumsy walking around, they’re frisky and they’re playing with one another. Our cubs are doing what Lion cubs naturally do at 2 weeks old," added Ramirez.

The cubs will remain off public view until they are a bit older and demonstrate solid mobility skills. In addition, outdoor temperatures need to be a minimum of 50 degrees.

Xerxes arrived in the spring from El Paso Zoo to be paired with Adia under a breeding recommendation by the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African Lions. Adia arrived in 2010 from Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, in Ohio. SSPs are a complex system that matches animals in North American zoos based on genetic diversity and demographic stability. Pairings also take into consideration the behavior and personality of the animals.

Woodland Park Zoo’s Lions belong to the South African subspecies,Panthera leo krugeri. Known as Transvaal Lions, they range from the southern Sahara to South Africa, excluding the Congo rain forest belt, in grassy plains, savanna and open woodlands.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed listing the African Lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As few as 32,000 African Lions are estimated to remain in the wild and their future remains uncertain. The three main threats facing African Lions at this time are habitat loss, loss of prey base, and increased human-Lion conflict.

See more pictures of the cubs below.

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It’s All About that Pumpkin

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Pumpkins are everywhere, this time of year! They make great pies, Jack-O-Lanterns, and pretty awesome enrichment toys for zoo animals. Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

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Photo Credits: Tammy Spratt/San Diego Zoo Safari Park (Image 1: African Lion Cub); Amiee Stubbs Photography (Image 2: "Charlie" the Porcupine at Nashville Zoo); Lincoln Children's Zoo (Image 3: "Lincoln" the Red Panda); ZooAmerica (Image 4: "Rainier" the Mountain Lion); Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn (Image 5: Elephants); Sue Ogrocki (Images 6-Gorilla,7-Red River Hogs,10-Galapagos Tortoise at Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Gardens); Minnesota Zoo (Image 8: Lynx); The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens (Image 9: Meerkats)

More great pumpkin pics below the fold!

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Trio of African Lion Cubs at Seattle Zoo

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Woodland Park Zoo’s lion pride just got bigger.Three African Lions were born, at the Seattle zoo, on Oct. 24th!

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DDow_June 13, 2014__Xerxes and AdiaPhoto Credits: Dr. Darin Collins/Woodland Park Zoo (1,2); Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo (3); Ruaha Carnivore Project (4)

The cubs represent the first litter between the mother, 5-year-old ‘Adia’ (ah-DEE-uh), and 7-year-old father, ‘Xerxes’. This is the first offspring for the father. The last birth of African Lions was in 2012 when Adia gave birth to four cubs with a different male.

Zookeepers moved the cubs into the off-view maternity den where the new family can bond in comfortable, quiet surroundings. Before reuniting the cubs with mom, the animal health team did a quick health assessment of the cubs and determined that all three are males. The father remains separated from the cubs and mother. Zookeepers are monitoring the new family round-the-clock. The mother and cubs are bonding and nursing, according to Martin Ramirez, mammal curator at Woodland Park Zoo. 

The first 48 hours are critical, and animal care staff will be monitoring each of the cubs closely for signs of normal behavior and development over the next several weeks. “Animal management staff are closely monitoring the litter via an internal cam to ensure the mom is providing good maternal care and the cubs are properly nursing. The mom and cubs will remain off public view until they are a bit older and demonstrate solid mobility skills. In addition, outdoor temperatures need to be a minimum of 50 degrees,” said Ramirez.

“The birth of the lions is very exciting for all of us, especially for Xerxes who was not represented in the gene pool for the lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) conservation breeding program,” said Ramirez.

Lion cubs typically weigh about 3 pounds at birth. They are born blind and open their eyes within a week or two after birth. As part of the exemplary animal care and health program for the zoo’s thousand-plus animals, zoo veterinarians will perform health check-ups every couple of weeks for weight monitoring, vaccinations, and critical blood and fecal sampling.

Xerxes arrived in the spring from El Paso Zoo, to be paired with Adia, under a breeding recommendation by the SSP for African Lions. Adia arrived in 2010 from Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, in Ohio. SSPs are a complex system that matches animals in North American zoos based on genetic diversity and demographic stability. Pairings also take into consideration the behavior and personality of the animals.

Woodland Park Zoo’s lions 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.

Continue reading "Trio of African Lion Cubs at Seattle Zoo" »


Daddy Day Care at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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African Lion Cub, ‘Evelyn’, recently spent a beautiful morning, at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, tackling her regal father, ‘Izu’. Evelyn is one of four cubs who, for the first time, are sharing the Lion Camp Habitat with their father. Prior to this, the almost four-month-old cubs only had visual access to the adult male while being cared for solely by their mother, ‘Oshana.’

During the October 2nd photo-op, all four of the cubs eagerly ran into the grassy habitat with their mother, who stayed a short distance away.  Izu tried to remain patient as the cubs, three females and one male, took turns pouncing, climbing and sniffing at him, even swiping playfully at his tail.

The four cubs were born on June 22nd and are named ‘Ernest’, ‘Evelyn’, ‘Marion’, and ‘Miss Ellen’, in honor of longtime San Diego Zoo Global supporters Ernest and Evelyn Rady and Marion Wilson, and in memory of Miss Ellen Browning Scripps, the San Diego Zoo's first benefactor.

Visitors to the Safari Park's Lion Camp may see Oshana, Izu and their cubs daily.

 


Name Dropping at the Oregon Zoo

OregonZoo_AfricanLionCubs_2On September 8th, beautiful African Lion Cubs were born at the Oregon Zoo. The healthy trio was the first offspring for their seven-year-old mother, ‘Kya’, and father, ‘Zawadi Mungu’. Now, the cubs are 4-weeks-old, adventurous, feisty…and they need names! 

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OregonZoo_AfricanLionCubs_5Photo Credits: Michael Durham /Oregon Zoo

Until now, the zoo's animal-care staff has referred to the two females and one male by the last digit of the numbers they were assigned as part of the International Species Information System: 6, 7 and 8.

"They're bonding well, and we're starting to see their personalities," Laura Weiner, senior keeper for the zoo’s Africa section said. "We think it's time to give them names that suit them."

Keepers have selected two possible names for each cub and are asking the public to vote.

Votes can be cast via an online survey, linked here: “Lion Cub Name Vote

Votes will be accepted through Thursday, Oct. 9. The zoo will announce the winning names on Friday, Oct. 10.

"A lot of animals at the zoo get their names from nations or cultures associated with their species' native habitats," Weiner said. "And for these cubs, we wanted to bring attention to what's happening in their range countries. Just two decades ago, lions were plentiful in much of Africa, but today they are vanishing at alarming rates. The wild lion population is estimated to have dropped by 75 percent since 1990."

The zoo's three adult lions (Zawadi, Neka and Kya) came to the Oregon Zoo, in 2009, based on a breeding recommendation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' Species Survival Plan for African Lions. Zawadi, the male, came from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the females, Neka and Kya, came from the Virginia Zoo and Wisconsin's Racine Zoo respectively.

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New Pride at Philly Zoo

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The Philadelphia Zoo recently celebrated the public debut of some amazing new residents: Four African Lion cubs!

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PhillyZooLionCubs_3Photo Credits: Philadelphia Zoo

Two of the cubs were born on June 25th, and the other two were born the next day on the 26th.  The proud mother is four-year-old Tajiri, and their father is five-year-old Makini. They are the first lion cubs born at the Philadelphia Zoo since 1996, and the quad makes their home at the zoo’s First Niagara Big Cat Falls.

Keepers have tried to keep first time mom, Tajiri, as comfortable as possible and allow her as much space as she desires with her new family.  It will be a little while longer before keepers are allowed to get close enough to the cubs to determine their sexes. However, the cubs have been given names. 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.

See more, learn more, below the fold.

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Feeling Chipper at Zoo Basel

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Seven Miniature Zebus, in the Children’s Zoo of Zoo Basel, Switzerland, have recently been given identification in the form of a microchip the size of a grain of rice.

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The microchip, also called a transponder, is fitted by a veterinarian beneath the skin, above the shoulder blades and contains a fifteen-digit code that can be read using a small mobile reader. Information on the microchip allows quick access for veterinarians, and includes date of birth, parentage, offspring, and medical conditions or treatment. The ability to differentiate between individual animals of a particular species is also required by the breeding initiatives sponsored by the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which enables zoos to ensure genetic diversity among their populations.

The veterinarians were assisted during the procedures by two young Children’s Zoo volunteers.  The girls, who work regularly with the animals at Zoo Basel, kept the animals calm and relaxed during the fitting.

Since the procedure cannot be performed on adult animals without anesthesia, the chips are, ideally, fitted at a very early age. In addition to the Miniature Zebu calves, several other species of zoo babies received microchips.  A Lion cub, Snow Leopard cub, a critically endangered African Wild Ass foal, and a young Sable Antelope received the transponders.  

See more photos below the fold.

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Dublin Zoo's New Mane Man

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Dublin Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of an Asian Lion cub!  The male cub was born to mother, Zuri, and dad, Kumar, who arrived, last year, to Dublin Zoo from Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands.

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Asian lion cub_Dublin_1Photo Credits: Patrick Bolger

Also know as the Indian Lion, the entire wild population of the Asian Lion can be found in the Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary in Western Gujarat, India.  Although, the lion was on the brink of extinction some 40 years ago, with wild population estimates at less than 200 individuals, the Asian Lion remains on the endangered list.  There are only estimated to be between 300 and 400 individuals in India. The birth of this Asian Lion cub is very significant for Dublin Zoo and the international breeding programme for this critically endangered species. 

According to the animal care team at Dublin Zoo, the lion cub is bonding well with his parents, first time mum Zuri and experienced dad Kumar.

Team leader Ciaran McMahon said, “We're thrilled about the arrival of the cub. He has a wonderfully playful and curious personality. It's lovely to see Zuri taking to her role as a new mum so well, and Kumar is as cool and calm as ever. At two months old, he now weighs an estimated 6.6kg (14.5 lbs).”

McMahon also said, “In the past, Dublin Zoo was very successful breeding African Lions. It is now of great conservation importance for zoos to maintain a viable population of critically endangered Asian Lions.”

See more photos below the fold.

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