Lion

UPDATE! Woodland Park Zoo's Four Lion Cubs Get Their Names

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The Woodland Park Zoo’s four Lion cubs, which you have most likely read about several times on ZooBorns by now, were born on November 19. The two male and two female cubs have been growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the excellent care of mom Adia and the watchful staff at the Zoo. But all this time they have gone without names.The Zoo recently held a naming contest and the results are in!

Congratulations go to Tate and Ross MacDonald of Seattle and Pamela Garland of Olympia for submitting the winning names as chosen by a panel of zoo judges: Male cub – Rudo (“love” in Zulu), Female cub – Busela (“happy and independent” in Zulu) Rudo and Busela join their brother and sister, who also recently received names from some of the zoo’s big cat donors: Pelo (“heart” in Sotho) for the second male, and Nobuhle (“the beautiful one” in Zulu) for the second female.

The lion cubs now have the full run of their exhibit, and are regularly going out with mom. They have gotten big enough and become coordinated enough to be safe by the habitat's moat. Four growing cubs could be a paw-full for mom, but, as you can see from the picture below, she is always in charge. 

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Photo Credit: Ryan Hawk/Woodland Park Zoo

With the run of the exhibit, the cubs' games of tag are much more epic - and when it's time for a rest, their favorite spot is the big heated rock. Read more about their explorations on the zoo's blog.

Look for more pictures of the cubs after the fold:

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Indian Lion Quadruplets Make Hungarian History at Budapest Zoo

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Quadruplet Indian Lion cubs made history at the Budapest Zoo. Born on February 15th, the cubs were the first of their species born in Hungary. The cubs, born to mother Shirwane and father Basil, made their public debut over the weekend. 

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Photo Credit: Budapest Zoo and Gruff78

Indian Lions, also known as Asiatic Lions, are a critically endangered subspecies of lions. Indian Lions are smaller and less genetically diverse than their African counterparts. Native to India, these big cats are found in the Gir National Park and Sactuary in Western Gujarat. The subspecies was driven to near extinction due to hunting and habitat destruction. About three hundred cats live in protected habitats with another three hundred living in zoos throughout Europe and Asia.  

See many more picture below the fold...

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UPDATE: Mom is a Patient Playmate for Antwerp Zoo’s Lion Cub

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Nestor, the Lion cub born at Belgium’s Antwerp Zoo on August 29, loves to play.  His favorite toy?  Mom! 

This energetic six-month-old cub has been featured several times on ZooBorns, from his first days on exhibit, playing in water, and enjoying the snow.  Now Nestor is honing his hunting skills through play. 

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Photo Credit:  Antwerp Zoo

Nestor’s mother, Maouli, is a willing and patient playmate for her little cub. But like all Lion moms, she lets her offspring know when he’s gone too far.  And when she lets loose with a Lion-sized snarl, Nestor is sure to take notice.

Africa’s wild Lions are in decline.  Recent studies suggest that fewer than 30,000 Lions survive on the continent.  Their numbers have dropped due to habitat loss and encroachment of human activity. 

See photos of Nestor and Maouli at the end of a play session below the fold!

Continue reading "UPDATE: Mom is a Patient Playmate for Antwerp Zoo’s Lion Cub" »


UPDATE! Omaha Zoo's Five African Lion Cubs Strike a Pose

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Getting five Lion cubs to look at the camera at the same time is not easy, but the staff at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium enjoy trying. You may have first learned about these two male and three female African Lion cubs, born on December 29, here or here on Zooborns.

First-time mom Mfisha, six years old, has her paws full but is clearly doing a great job. The cubs are weighed every day and are growing as they should, including one female, who was having trouble nursing early on. After spending eight days in the hospital to improve her health, she was put back with her siblings, mom and aunt, though she continued to be bottle fed by keepers. 

African Lions are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources). Over the last 20 years the lion population has estimated to have declined from 30% to 50%. African lions live in sub-Sahara Africa with the majority in east and southern Africa.

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Photo Credit: Henry Doorly Zoo

Read more about this beautiful species after the fold:

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Update! Honolulu Zoo's Lion Cubs Use Play to Grow Strong

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The furry-bellied Lion cub trio at Honolulu Zoo that you may have read about here on ZooBorns are getting bigger! Born on December 15, at six weeks old their weigh-in had them at a healthy 14 pounds (6.35 kg) each; since then they have continued to grow at a good pace.  

The cubs are not yet ready to be in the large exhibit so they spend their time behind the scenes with their mother, Moxy. Zoo staff worked with the City’s Department of Information Technology to provide a live feed for public viewing of them on a monitor at the old gift store display window. Zoo staff hopes that after they complete their inoculations (within the next 60 days), and get the approval of Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Ben Okimoto, they can be introduced to their habitat. 

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Photo Credit: Honolulu Zoo

The cubs are becoming stronger, thanks in part to play, which develops motor skills, balance and hunting behavior. With three cubs, it's three times the fun, as captured on the Zoo's closed circuit cameras.


Lion Cubs Explore the Great Outdoors

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You’ve met the Woodland Park Zoo’s quartet of Lion cubs several times on ZooBorns since they were born on November 19.  Since then, the two male and two female cubs have been safely tucked in their den with mom Adia.  But this week they ventured into their outdoor yard for the first time, practicing for their public debut.

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Photo Credits:   Ryan Hawk/Wodland Park Zoo

Adia was the first to step outside, with two of the cubs emerging alongside her.  Then Adia ducked back inside as if calling the other two cubs.  Soon all four were outdoors, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of this new world.  The cubs stuck together and stayed close to mom, though they were curious about the zoo staff members who had gathered to watch through the viewing window. 

Keepers had filled the yard with mossy logs, muddy pits, and sticks for the cubs to play with, but their favorite toy was mom.  They constantly pounced on her, grabbed her neck, or slipped under her feet.  New distractions, like planes flying overhead and cawing birds got the cubs’ attention as well.

After two hours of outdoor play, the cubs were tuckered out and the family headed inside to rest.  But you can be sure the cubs will be ready for action when they meet the public for the first time very soon.

See more photos of the cubs below the fold.

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Bristol Zoo's Critically Endangered Lion Cub Brothers Thriving

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On November 9, 2011, two healthy male Asiatic Lion cubs named Kamran and Ketan were born to mom Shiva at Bristol Zoo Gardens. Now at nine and a half weeks, both cubs are doing well and beginning to reveal their individual personalities. They’re spending more time outside in an off-show enclosure, though guests can now view them at play on a monitor outside the exhibit. 

But they have a story. Unfortunately, only 12 days after they were born, their eight-year-old father Kamal was put to sleep due to severely deteriorating health. Following his death, Shiva began to have difficulties mothering, which forced staff to make the rare decision to intervene and remove the two-week-old cubs for hand-rearing.

Asiatic Lions are classified as Critically Endangered and are part of an internationally coordinated conservation breeding program managed by Twycross Zoo. There are currently only a few hundred Asiatic Lions left in the wild, so every step had to be taken to ensure these cubs survive and thrive. Hand-rearing is a very demanding and challenging process, and is considered a last resort. But just as their father played a role in the conservation breeding program, both cubs are to play a role in the future of the breeding program. 

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"The initial transition was a very important time for the cubs,’ says Lynsey Bugg, Assistant Curator of Mammals. "We placed straw from their previous enclosure on the ground for familiarity, and gave each cub a cuddly toy to snuggle with to mimic mum. We also worked closely with the Vet Team to monitor their fluid intake while we got both cubs used to feeding from artificial teats."

A team of five keepers are dedicated to care for the cubs, who were initially fed five times over a 24 hour period. While the cubs got used to the new feeding regimine, keepers could spend up to two hours doing each feed. Both cubs have their weight, temperature and respiratory rate checked daily, and keepers monitor their activity level to ensure they’re progressing well. 

"Alongside the challenge of feeding when hand-rearing, we need to prevent the cubs from imprinting on the keepers, so we make sure we treat them the way that their mum would when we handle them," continues Lynsey. This involves picking them up by the scruff of the neck and brushing them with a coarse brush -- which replicates them being licked by their mother’s coarse tongue -- all to ensure they go on to be a fully functioning social animal.

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"I’m very proud of my team," says Lynsey. "However, I’ll deem the hand-rearing a success when our two young males are fully weaned and then go on to breed themselves. After all, protecting this incredible species is what we’re all working toward."

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Photo Credit: Bristol Zoo

Watch this video of the two nursing and being quite curious about the camera!


UPDATE! Snowy Adventure for Longleat Lion Cubs

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Last time you read about these eight Lion cubs here on ZooBorns, they were taking their first stroll with their mothers out in the habitat at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park. This time, they got out to play in inches of fluffy white snow. All four male and four female cubs were born back in August -- and between the two forays into the elements, it can be seen how much they've grown.

This group is so big because they are actually two different families, with 2 of each gender born to different first-time mothers Nikata and Louisa. All are fathered by Hugo, the zoo's majestic male. The cubs practiced plenty of climbing, crouching and pouncing on each other... and their parents.

Keeper Bob Trollope said, “Nikata and Louisa don’t seem to have any problem joining in the rough and tumble games with their cubs. However, they are extremely protective and are nowhere near as accommodating with us!”

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Photo Credit: I.Turner 


It’s a Snow Day for Zoo Antwerp’s Lion Cub

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You’ve met Nestor, the male Lion Cub born at Zoo Antwerp on August 29, on the pages of Zooborns before:  once when he was first introduced to the public, and again when he was learning to navigate waterways in his exhibit.  Now, Nestor is learning about a new natural phenomenon:  snow!

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Photo Credits:  Zoo Antwerp

Nestor’s mother Maouli is always nearby to guide the brave little Lion in his explorations, but he seems determined to learn on his own.  But even courageous cubs need to check in frequently with mom just to be on the safe side.

Now five months old, Nestor is the only male lion remaining at Zoo Antwerpen.  Nestor’s father, Victor, died recently from age-related conditions.  Victor was nearly 19 years old and seemed to enjoy the affections of his young offspring.   Like Victor, Nestor will one day be an important part of the conservation breeding program for African Lions, which are in decline in their native African home. 

See more photos of Nestor below the fold!

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UPDATE: Five Lion Cubs are the Pride of Omaha

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You met the five African Lion cubs born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo a few weeks ago on ZooBorns. Take a look at these new photos and you’ll see that they’re growing fast!

Born to first-time mother Mfisha and father Mr. Big on December 29, the five cubs are thriving.  The litter includes two males and three females.

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Photo Credit:  Henry Doorly Zoo

This breeding was recommended by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) as part of an effort to breed Lions of appropriate genetic backgrounds.   

The population of African Lions has fallen dramatically over the last few decades.  Some experts estimate there are half as many wild African Lions as there were two decades ago, and most are confined to national parks and protected areas.  Zoo breeding is one of many efforts underway to protect these majestic cats from extinction.