An Asiatic Lioness named Lorena gave birth to three adorable cubs on January 25, at Planckendael Zoo. This is the first litter for Lorena, and the two boys and one girl recently explored their outdoor exhibit for the first time.
Lorena was seen taking her children by the scruff of the neck in an effort to keep them in line. These mini-lions are not only cute and beautiful, but they are also very curious. They are attracted to adventure, and do so with the craziest antics. It will be a busy period for mom Lorena.
They were also recently given names: the boys are called Raman and Ravi, and the girl was named Rani.
Mom Lorena was also born at Planckendael. She was one of five cubs born to mom Kolya in 2010, and she has now taken over the role of ‘Mother Hen’, previously held by her mother. New dad, Jari, has been at Planckendael since 2014.
The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica), also known as the Indian lion or Persian lion, is a lion subspecies that exists as a single population in India's Gujarat state.
The Asiatic Lion was first described by the Austrian zoologist Johann N. Meyer under the trinomen Felis leo persicus.
The Asiatic lion is one of five big cat species found in India, along with the Bengal Tiger, Indian Leopard, Snow Leopard and Clouded Leopard. It formerly occurred in Southeastern Europe, Black Sea Basin, Caucasus, Persia, Canaan, Mesopotamia, Baluchistan, from Sindh in the west to Bengal in the east, and from Rampur and Rohilkund in the north to Nerbudda in the south. It differs from the African Lion by less inflated auditory bullae, a larger tail tuft and a less developed mane.
The species is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. According to the IUCN: “The Asiatic lion currently exists as a single subpopulation, and is thus vulnerable to extinction from unpredictable events, such as an epidemic or large forest fire.
There are indications of poaching incidents in recent years (there are reports that organised gangs have switched attention from tigers to these lions). There have also been a number of drowning incidents after lions fell into wells.
Establishment of at least one other wild population is advisable for population safety, for maximizing genetic diversity, and in terms of ecology (re-establishing the lion as a component of the fauna in its former range). However, there are problems in attempting this: a previous attempt to establish a second subpopulation in the Chandraprabha Wildlife Sanctuary in eastern Uttar Pradesh appeared to be succeeding, as the population grew from three to 11 animals, but then the lions disappeared, presumably shot or poisoned. Palpur-Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Madhya Pradesh has now been selected as the best candidate area. Communities will require resettlement to make room for the Lions, but this time great care is being taken to make the process participatory and to attempt to satisfy local needs, and not engender hostility toward Lion conservation.”