A Pile o' Four! Rare Asiatic Lion Cubs Born at Paignton Zoo
July 19, 2012
Four little Asiatic Lion cubs (Panthera leo persica) were born on May 15 after a gestation of about 3.5 months to mother Indu and father Mwamba at the UK's Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. This is the parent first success after several failed attempts.
Neil Bemment, Director of Operations and Curator of Mammals said, “They have come through the critical first few weeks. We have been letting her get on with being a new mum and so far she seems to be doing really well. We are cautiously excited. If she is successful then it will be thanks to a lot of care and attention from the keepers. It is very good news for the species.”
Asiatic lions are threatened by hunting and habitat destruction. Fewer than 400 survive in the wild in the Gir National Park and Lion Sanctuary (India). There are conservation breeding programs in zoos including a European Endangered species Programme (EEP). The Asiatic lion is smaller than the African lion and has a distinctive fold of skin on the belly. Also, the male's mane is smaller and lighter in colour.
Photo credit: Paington Zoo