A pair of male Asiatic Lions born June 16 at Great Britain’s Paignton Zoo are two of just 15 born in zoos around the world so far this year.
Photo Credit: Paignton Zoo
Only about 500 Asiatic Lions are found in the wild today, all living in India’s Gir National Park & Sanctuary. These cats once lived across southeastern Europe, the Middle East, Pakistan, and India. The subspecies is listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Hunting and habitat destruction through the centuries have caused the cats’ decline.
The cubs’ mother, Maliya, has kept the cubs tucked away in the birthing den for several weeks. The zoo staff is pleased with how Maliya, a first-time mother, has been caring for her babies with the help of her mother, Indu, and the cubs’ father, Lucifer.
Asiatic Lions are smaller than Africa Lions and have a distinctive fold of skin on the belly and a smaller, lighter-colored mane on adult males.