Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s three female lion cubs have officially been dubbed with the purrfect names to take their pride of place in Dubbo. Amali, Mara and Imani are the new cubs on the block pawing their way into the hearts of guests visiting the Lion Pride Lands.
Lion Supervisor Justine Powell said the four-month-old cub trio were a delight to watch blossom, with their confidence and personalities becoming stronger with every passing day.
“Amali is very confident and shows a strong love for food. Mara is audacious and has a playful behaviour of flicking her tail around like a helicopter when she is showing her confidence. Imani is the quieter one who prefers to wait and see before making any decisions,” said Justine.
“First time parents, Marion and Lwazi are taking their parenting duties seriously, both being patient and gentle with the now 22kg bundles of ever-growing strength.”
The zoo’s lion keepers researched names that paid homage to Masai Mara National Park in Kenya – a stronghold for wild African lion populations. Those names were then put to the public in a naming competition, with a clear preference in votes for Amali, meaning ‘Hope’. A generous Taronga Foundation donor, Macquarie Anglican Grammar School, Dubbo named the second cub Imani meaning ‘Faith’. Whilst Lion keepers finalised the naming with Mara, a tribute to the National Park in Kenya.
African Lions are classified as vulnerable with a decreasing population in the wild. Over the past 21 years, populations have reduced by approximately 43%. Loss of habitat, growth in agriculture and settlements, and human-wildlife conflict are having devastating effects on carnivores across Africa, thus insurance breeding programs for lions are becoming more important than ever.
Taronga supports several important in-situ community conservation programs, including the Northern Rangelands Trust in Kenya providing alternative sources of income for local communities and supporting anti-poaching units in critical wildlife areas. Taronga also works alongside the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust in partnership with the University of NSW, studying new ways to reduce lion mortalities caused by local livestock farming practices.
Taronga is not-for-profit, so whether you visit, stay overnight, donate, become a Zoo Parent, book an unforgettable behind the scenes experience or buy a gift for a loved one, every dollar you spend has the power to protect and helps save wildlife.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is open daily from 9am-4pm. For more information about planning a visit to Taronga Western Plains Zoo or to purchase your tickets online visit www.taronga.org.au/dubbo-zoo