We don't know if Lions are ticklish, but this mom seems to join in the fun with her three playful Asiatic Lion cubs, born at Sweden’s Parken Zoo on July 18. But like all moms, she knows just when to discipline her growing cubs and when to play along.
Born to mother Ishara, age 6, and father Kaja, age 14, the cubs were recently examined by the zoo’s veterinarian, given vaccines, and had identifying microchips inserted. Now, they are ready to meet their older siblings, Khana and Gir, age two. Khana and Gir have been watched over by Sarla, a 16-year-old female in the zoo’s pride, while Ishara tended her new cubs.
Asiatic Lions once roamed much of southern Asia and the Middle East, but they now exist as a tiny population of only 350 animals in India’s Gir Forest area. They are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Thanks to protection, the population has doubled in the last 40 years, but the Asiatic Lion is still vulnerable to poaching, disease, and natural disasters.
See more photos of the cubs below the fold.