An African Lion cub born March 5 made his public debut alongside his dad on Father’s Day at the Buffalo Zoo.
The Buffalo Zoo’s staff had been preparing for this day ever since little Tobias was born to first time parents Lelei and Tiberius.
Photo Credit: Kelly Ann Brown
Like all Lion cubs, Tobias spent his first weeks in the den with his mother. By the time Tobias was a few months old, the staff began allowing him to explore the Lion habitat early in the morning or in the evening, when zoo guests were not in the park.
Lion cubs can be clumsy, so keepers wanted to make sure Tobias could navigate the Lion exhibit safely. Once Tobias was comfortable in the exhibit, he was joined by his mother on his after-hours adventures. Later, keepers allowed Tiberius to join mother and cub.
Tobias is the first Lion cub to be reared at the Buffalo in 25 years.
In the wilds of Africa, Lions are considered Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Because their wild habitat has been altered by humans and prey has becomes scarcer, African Lion populations have fallen by more than half since the 1990s. Captive breeding programs in zoos are important tools for securing the future of the species.