There are two boys, two girls, and …they are two-months-old! Meet the Lion cubs of ZooParc de Beauval, in France.
The healthy cubs were born at the Zoo and have been given the names: Virunga, Atlas, Lawaya, and Tswanga.
The quad of siblings are still too young for the outdoor exhibit. For now, they are sticking close to mom and can be seen through the windows of the Zoo’s Lion House.
The Lion (Panthera leo) is one of the five big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. The commonly used term African Lion collectively denotes the several subspecies found in Africa.
Lions do not mate at any specific time of year. The lioness has a gestation period of around 110 days, and generally gives birth to a litter of one to four cubs. Cubs are born blind, and their eyes open about a week after birth.
Usually, the mother does not integrate herself, or her cubs, back into the pride until the offspring are six to eight weeks old. Weaning generally occurs after six to seven months.
The Lion is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The main threats to “Panthera leo” are: indiscriminate killing (primarily as a result of retaliatory or pre-emptive killing to protect humans or livestock), prey base depletion, and trophy hunting in some areas of Africa. The illegal trade of in body parts for medicinal purposes also poses a threat. Disease also plays a role in depletion of subpopulations.
According to the IUCN: “Since 1975 Panthera leo has been included in CITES Appendix II, and the Endangered Asiatic Lion subspecies P. leo persica in CITES Appendix I. CITES listing of the Lion is currently undergoing a Periodic Review process to evaluate whether this accurately reflects the present situation, with a final recommendation of the Animals Committee expected at its 28th meeting in 2015. The Animals Committee also noted recent information regarding possible changes in the nomenclature of Lions and requests its nomenclature expert to review this information (CITES AC27 WG8).
In Africa, Lions are present in a number of large and well-managed protected areas, and remain one of the most popular animals on the must-see lists of tourists and visitors to Africa. Most range states in East and Southern Africa have an infrastructure, which supports wildlife tourism, and in this way Lions generate significant cash revenue for park management and local communities and provide a strong incentive for wildland conservation.
Regional conservation strategies have been developed for Lions in West and Central Africa (IUCN 2006a) and Eastern and Southern Africa (IUCN 2006b). By setting out common priorities to guide action on both national, community and landscape levels, the regional conservation strategies have the potential for broad and significant improvement of Lion status and management (Nowell et al. 2006). These regional strategies have been used in many countries to develop Lion Conservation Action Plans.
While all these documents show awareness of the threats and recognition of solutions, the continued decline in Lion range and numbers show that political priority and funding are not sufficient.”