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.
The Philadelphia Zoo recently celebrated the public debut of some amazing new residents: Four African Lion cubs!
Photo 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.
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.
Photo Credits: Zoo Basel
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.
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.
Photo 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.”
Three Asiatic Lion cubs born on March 27 at Finland’s Helsinki Zoo had their first vet visit at five weeks of age.
Photo 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.
Four 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.
Photo 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.
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.
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.