Lion

Rare Asiatic Lion Cubs Have Their First Checkup

13935707150_ce0058ef2b_bThree Asiatic Lion cubs born on March 27 at Finland’s Helsinki Zoo had their first vet visit at five weeks of age.  

13935698978_a7d966872d_b
14122326195_146e5f75f8_b
14122325415_9347177432_bPhoto Credit:  Mari Lehmonen

The Zoo staff lured the three-year-old mother to another area of the exhibit, and the veterinary staff swooped in for a quick exam.  The cubs are still small enough to be handled safely, and they received vaccinations and gender checks. 

According to the staff, the cubs are “chubby,” so it’s clear that their mother is caring for them properly.  And if you watch the video, you'll see that the cubs have no trouble airing their displeasure with the veterinary staff.

To date, the cubs have been with their mother in a cubbing den behind the scenes.  The staff has watched the new family on closed circuit cameras.  The cubs won’t be on public display until sometime in June. 

Wild Asiatic Lions live only in northwestern India in the Gir forest area.  Because only about 400 individual lions live in the wild, they are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Though this number is small, the population has more than doubled from a low of only 180 individuals in 1974. These cats once ranged into central Asia and the Middle East as recently as the 20th century. 

Because the current wild population is derived from only a few cats, inbreeding is one of the greatest threats to Asiatic Lions.  In addition, the Gir forest is under intense pressure from an encroaching human population. 

See more photos below.

Continue reading "Rare Asiatic Lion Cubs Have Their First Checkup" »


First Look at Zoo Miami's Lion Cubs

Kashifa cub 8 IBFour Lion cubs born on March 6 at Zoo Miami were viewed in person for the first time last week after spending more than a month in the den with their mother.

Kashifa cub 11 IB

Kashifa cubs 5 IB
Kashifa cubs 12 IBPhoto Credit:  Ivy Brower

Until now, zoo keepers have viewed the new family only by closed circuit camera.  Last week, they were able to temporarily separate the mother, four-year-old Kashifa, to get a closer look at the cubs.  

In the wild, Lion cubs remain in the den or hidden in brush for about six weeks, when they are old enough to join the pride.  Zoo Miami’s four cubs are not yet on public display, and are expected to remain behind the scenes with Kashifa for a few more weeks.

See more cub photos below!

Continue reading "First Look at Zoo Miami's Lion Cubs" »


Zoo Miami's Lion Cub Makes His First Public Appearance

988814_690490220973284_1306463816_n
For the first time in Zoo Miami history, a Lioness and her cub went on public exhibit together. First-time mother Asha and her three month old male cub K'wasi thrilled zoo guests last week as they explored the exhibit and interacted together. 

1920165_690490637639909_1652893822_n

1912250_690491150973191_1017809612_n

1185538_690490580973248_1228092217_n
Photo Credit:  Ron Magill

You’d never know by looking at him, but K’wasi had a rough start in life.  ZooBorns chronicled his difficult journey here and here.  When he was just a few weeks old, he battled bacterial infections and lost weight.  Thanks to supplemental bottles from zoo keepers, K’wasi has made a comeback.

See more photos of Asha and K'wasi below the fold.

Continue reading "Zoo Miami's Lion Cub Makes His First Public Appearance" »


Update: Zoo Miami's Lion Cub is Thriving

Lion Cub F

A few weeks ago, we introduced you to a male Lion cub born December 15 at Zoo Miami.  Shortly after the cub was born to first-time mother Asha, keepers observed that he was losing weight.  He then faced several bacterial infections.  To help the little cub, keepers began offering a supplemental bottle to the cub three times a day.

Lion Cub G

Lion Cub C

Lion Cub D
Photo Credit:  Zoo Miami

Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the zoo staff, the little cub is now thriving and his prognosis for long-term survival is good.  The cub was recently separated from Asha for a quick physical exam and received his vaccinations.  Asha welcomed her cub back without hesitation after the brief exam. 

The cub, who has not yet been named, will remain off-exhibit with Asha for several weeks.  Eventually, he will be introduced to the rest of the zoo’s Lion pride.




When Mom's Away, the Cubs Get Weighed!

2 lion

Last week at Smithsonian National Zoo, African Lion mother Naba spent some time away from her cubs and enjoyed a special oxtail treat with her sister, Shera. Keepers took the opportunity to get their first in-person look at the cubs. Their report: they are adorable! 

4 lion

1 lion

3 lion

5 lion

6 lionPhoto credit: Smithsonian National Zoo / Karen Abbott

In order to distinguish the two, keepers shaved a small mark on each cub. The smaller cub, who weighs 7.6 pounds (3.4 kg), has a shave mark on his/her left shoulder. The larger cub, who weighs 8.26 pounds (3.7 kg), has a small shave mark at the base of his/her tail. Animal care staff have not yet verified the cubs’ sex. (Just shy of 2 weeks old, the cubs’ genetalia have not fully developed.) 

When Naba returned to the cubbing den, she groomed and nursed the cubs. She didn’t show any signs of stress. Keepers gave her the option to move the cubs to a different set of cubbing dens, but Naba choose to keep them where they were. 

Watch the little lion family grow on the zoo's Cub Cam.


UPDATE! Reid Park Zoo's Lion Cubs are Growing Strong

3 lion

Lioness Kaya and her four cubs are doing well at Reid Park Zoo in Arizona. The cubs, three males and one female, are being cared for by their mom as well as keepers and veterinary staff. The cubs are gaining weight and had their most recent checkup on February 3. At six weeks old, they're still not quite big enough to come out on exhibit...but soon!

See our first post here.

2 lion

1 lion

4 lionPhoto credit: Reid Park Zoo

See a video from the cubs' checkup at three weeks old:


Bottles Give a Boost to Zoo Miami’s Lion Cub

LC 4

A male Lion cub born December 15 at Florida’s Zoo Miami is getting extra care from zoo keepers after battling several health challenges in his short life.

LC 6
LC 3

LC 5
Photo Credit:  Zoo Miami
The only cub born to first-time mother Asha, he remains in stable condition and zoo officials are guarded but hopeful about his chances for survival. The cub has already overcome dehydration and a bacterial infection. Now, keepers are concerned that Asha may not be producing enough milk for her cub, so they provide supplemental bottle feedings three times a day.

Because they want the cub to bond with his mother, keepers offer the bottles through a barrier, allowing him to remain with Asha. Fortunately, Asha accepts the cub after each feeding, an important factor in the cub’s socialization. The staff observes Asha and her cub with a closed circuit camera and reports that Asha is an attentive mother, but the cub could still face challenges in the next several months.

See more photos of the cub below the fold.

Continue reading "Bottles Give a Boost to Zoo Miami’s Lion Cub" »


Four Feisty Lion Cubs are the Pride of Zoo Basel

Jung_loewen_ZOB9835

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.

1557481_627829283921482_1865751082_n
Jung_loewen_ZOB9328

Jung_loewen_ZOB9924
Photo Credit:  Zoo Basel 

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.

Continue reading "Four Feisty Lion Cubs are the Pride of Zoo Basel" »


Four Lion Cubs Born at Reid Park Zoo

Lion1

Tiny vocalizations coming from the Lion cubbing den alerted a Reid Park Zoo keeper that Kaya, the zoo’s Lioness, had given birth on December 23.  Of the five cubs delivered, only four survived, which is not unusual for such a large litter.

Lion2
Lion3
Photo Credit:  Reid Park Zoo

Of the four remaining cubs, three are males and one is a female. All four cubs are gaining weight, but the veterinary staff remains concerned about one male who is gaining weight slowly and appears weaker than the others. “A litter of five cubs is unusual,” says Zoo Veterinarian Alexis Moreno. “It would be a challenge for five cubs to thrive – and we are monitoring the health of the remaining four offspring closely – it is still a large litter. I am cautiously optimistic at this point.” The mortality rate for cubs up to one year old is close to 30% in zoos, and significantly higher in the wild.

The cubs and mother are behind the scenes and are receiving the best care possible. Kaya and her cubs have access to two “bedrooms” and a cubbing den (a cave-like room with minimal lighting and temperature regulation to reduce stress and limit human intrusion). Kaya is eating well, nurses her cubs, and is protective of her young. Shombay, the father, is separated from the rest of the pride for safety. He has access to the exhibit and adjacent behind-the-scenes holding. Shombay vocalizes to Kaya and the young and appears very curious about the cubs.

This is the second litter for Kaya and Shombay at Reid Park Zoo. She delivered three cubs in July 2011 and all three offspring are now living at other accredited zoos.  Reid Park Zoo partners with other zoos to make responsible breeding decisions for the protection of the species.


UPDATE! Help Name Maryland Zoo's Lion Cubs

1

The Maryland Zoo is asking the public to help name the brother and sister Lion cubs that were born on October 4. The cubs are now nine weeks-old and full of Lion cub mischief. They were given a clean bill of health during their most recent veterinary exam and are now eating several pounds of meat a day.  

The names were selected by the zoo keepers who have been caring for them since their mother, Lioness Badu, died from complications relating to the birth.  Zoo staff say that their personalities have really just begun to emerge.  The male cub has a lighter coat of fur and is more laid-back, a pretty relaxed cub who likes to stay near his sister.  The sister is covered in dark spots. She has a fiery personality, is always the first one to check out new things and she is the instigator in all of their lion cub tussles. With that in mind, the names the keepers have selected are:

1) Luke and Leia: brother/sister from Star Wars who were also orphaned

2) Bart and Maggie: Simpson’s siblings

3) Kulu and Madoa: Kulu means “huge” and Madoa means “spotted”

4) Lear and Circe: King Lear, for the lion is the king of the jungle and Circe, a minor goddess in Greek mythology who turned men into animals with her wand.

The voting closes today (December 19), so go ahead and vote!

2

3

4

5 lionPhoto credit: Jeffrey F. Bill / Maryland Zoo

See a video of the cubs exploring their new home:

See more photos after the fold!

Continue reading "UPDATE! Help Name Maryland Zoo's Lion Cubs" »