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