Lion

Zoo Miami's Lion Cub Makes His First Public Appearance

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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. 

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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.

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Update: Zoo Miami's Lion Cub is Thriving

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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.

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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!

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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! 

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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

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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.

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


Bottles Give a Boost to Zoo Miami’s Lion Cub

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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.

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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.

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Four Feisty Lion Cubs are the Pride of Zoo Basel

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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.

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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.

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Four Lion Cubs Born at Reid Park Zoo

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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.

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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

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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!

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5 lionPhoto credit: Jeffrey F. Bill / Maryland Zoo

See a video of the cubs exploring their new home:

See more photos after the fold!

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Hand-raised Lion Cubs Growing Strong at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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Lions Izu and Oshana of San Diego Zoo Safari Park are parents again! On December 6, Oshana gave birth to two healthy cubs, one male and one female. Although Oshana is an experienced mom who nursed and cared for her previous litters, she shows no interest in nursing these two. We may find it upsetting, but animal mothers both in captivity and in the wild may reject their young for many reasons, and we don't always understand why.

Zoo staff are hand-raising this litter in the zoo's animal care center, so that the little Lions will be able to grow up healthy and safely. So far the yet-to-be-named cubs are doing well under the care of dedicated staff. Keep an eye out—zoo visitors will be able to see them in the coming weeks!

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3 lionPhoto credits: San Diego Zoo Safari Park. First photo credit: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo Safari Park


UPDATE: Lion Cubs Thriving at Maryland Zoo

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A five-week-old brother-and-sister Lion cub duo is thriving under the care of zoo keepers at the Maryland Zoo. 

ZooBorns introduced the cubs a few weeks ago.  Their mother died unexpectedly just few days after giving birth but thanks to round-the-clock care from the zoo staff, the cubs are in excellent health and are becoming more playful every day.  The cubs’ teeth are starting to come in, and keepers have started to introduce meat into their daily diet. 

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Photo Credit:  Maryland Zoo


The cubs are not on public display yet, but the zoo expects to hold a naming contest for the cubs soon. 

See more photos of the cubs below the fold.

 

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