Recently, Fresno Chaffee Zoo excitedly announced the birth of an African Lion cub. The male cub was born October 11 to mom, Kiki, and dad, Chisulo.
“We are very happy to have a healthy cub. Kiki is an experienced mom and is taking great care of the cub,” stated Nicole Presley, Curator.
The little cub will bond with his mother, off-exhibit, for 8 to 12 weeks in their den. Once the cub has matured, he will join the rest of the Zoo’s small pride on-exhibit.
“Weather permitting, the cub will be on-exhibit in 8-12 weeks. Since that will be wintertime, everyone may have to wait a bit longer to see the cub.” Presley said, “We know how excited our guests are to see the new cub so in the next week, we will have video of Kiki and her new cub in the lion viewing area by the land rover.”
In order for the new cub and its mom to bond, only limited animal staff will be allowed in the Lion house for the care of the Lions. Keepers have placed a TV monitor in the Lion viewing area, so Zoo guests can get a sneak peak of mom and baby behind the scenes. The Zoo will also provide pictures and video, via social media, throughout the weeks the family is off-exhibit.
The Zoo recently held a naming contest for the new little guy. The event was completed November 27, and staff are expected to make a formal announcement of the winning name, via social media, very soon. The naming contest was not only a fun way for visitors to be involved, it was also a chance for the Zoo to raise money for an important cause. Votes were cast by the purchase of one-dollar tokens. All of the money collected from the promotion will be donated to the Ruaha Carnivore Project, which focuses on developing conservation strategies for large carnivores in Tanzania. (For more information about the Ruaha Carnivore Project, visit www.ruahacarnivoreproject.com ).
Fresno Chaffee Zoo is now home to four African Lions, including the cub. The new father, Chisulo, is 2 years old and was born at National Zoo in Washington, D.C. The two females, Kiki (12) and her daughter, Zamaya (2), arrived at Fresno Chaffee Zoo from Zoo Atlanta.
The new Lion birth is an exciting event for the Fresno, California facility. The last time Lions were born at Fresno Chaffee Zoo was in 1968.
African Lions (Panthera leo) can be found throughout the South Sahara desert and in parts of Southern and Eastern Africa. Adult males can weigh up to 530 lbs. It is only in adulthood that male Lions will have the well-known mane, after several years of growth and strength gaining. These carnivore cats are opportunistic feeders and are known to take rodents, birds and reptiles as well as their usual large antelope or zebra prey.
(Images below: Dad, Chisulo, and mom, Kiki)