Lion Triplets Are Three Times the Fun

Cotswold Wildlife Park's Lion cubs DSC_0156 (2) photo credit Natasha Jefferies
It’s three times the fun when Asiatic Lion cub triplets Kali, Sita, and Sonika come out to play at Cotswold Wildlife Park

Born May 25, the three female cubs have spent the last two months in the birthing den with their mother, Kanha.  Lionesses rear their babies in seclusion and often reject them if they are disturbed, so the staff monitored the cubs via closed circuit TV.

Cotswold Wildlife Park's Lion cub DSC_0156 (15) photo credit Natasha Jefferies
Cotswold Wildlife Park's Lion cubs DSC_0156 (11) photo credit Natasha Jefferies
Photo Credit:  Natasha Jeffries
This is the first litter of Lion triplets born at Cotswold since the park opened in 1970. 

According to the staff, Kanha and Rana are proving to be excellent first-time parents and all three boisterous youngsters are healthy and developing into confident cubs.

Dad Rana met the cubs in the Lions’ outdoor enclosure last week, but for the last two months, he lived next door and took a great interest in the youngsters. 

Asiatic Lions are one of the world’s rarest big cat species. Wild population numbers have declined drastically over the last century, almost to the point of extinction. Once found throughout much of southwestern Asia, they are now only found in India’s Gir Forest with the 2015 census putting the entire wild population at 523 animals. 

Though they live in a protected area, conservationists worry that a disease epidemic could wipe out the entire Asiatic Lion population.  Breeding programs in zoos are extremely important to the future of this subspecies.  Asiatic Lions are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

See more photos of the cubs below.

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Rare Lions Cubs are the Pride of Paignton Zoo

2016 07 PZ Asiatic lion cub portrait large
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. 

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2016 07 PZ Asiatic lion cubs 1
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.

Lion Cub Shares Father's Day Debut With Dad

African lion cub-tobias

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. 

Toby 1
Toby 2
Tobias 1

Tiberius and Tobias
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.

Curious Cubs Explore at Planckendael


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.



4_Fotolink_welpen-3Photo Credits: Planckendael / Jonas Verhulst


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.

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Playtime for Lion Cubs at Linton Zoo

Zuri and cub playing
Two five-month-old African Lion cubs at Great Britain’s Linton Zoo recently enjoyed outdoor playtime with their mom and dad.

African Lion cubs with mum Safina at Linton Zoo, photo by Michelle Aylott (8)
African Lion cubs with mum Safina at Linton Zoo, photo by Michelle Aylott (7)
Sleepy lion cubs cuddle time ccPhoto Credit:  Michelle Aylott

The cubs, a male and a female, were born September 30 to parents Safina and Zuri.  As you can see from the photos, the energetic cubs keep mom and dad busy playing and snuggling.   Of course, so much play can wear out the little cubs, so they take naps several times a day.

As the cubs grow, interacting with their parents and each other through play helps to hone their survival skills.  Because Lions live in social groups called prides, it’s important for cubs to learn Lion etiquette so they can succeed as adults. So far, Safina and Zuri are proving to be excellent parents.

The cubs have not yet been named, but the zoo plans to hold a naming contest in conjunction with Lion Guardians, an Africa-based conservation organization, this spring.

African Lions are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, due to habitat loss and persecution in non-protected areas. The population is believed to have fallen by up to 50% in the last 50 to 60 years.  Many conservation organizations are working to protect the remaining Lions in eastern and southern Africa, and zoo breeding programs aim to maximize genetic diversity in the captive population.

See more photos of the cubs below.

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Three Little Girls at Peoria Zoo


Lizzie and Arthur have been together since 2008, and on Dec 4, 2015 they became parents for the first time. Nine-year-old Lizzy gave birth to three sweet female Lion cubs at the Peoria Zoo.

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4_2 for zoo bornsPhoto Credits: Peoria Zoo

In preparation of the birth, Zoo staff modified an off-exhibit stall to provide a secure and quiet place for the expectant mother and cubs. A video camera was installed in the stall to allowed Zoo staff to view the family remotely, 24/7.

A whelping box was also installed, in the hopes that Lizzy would actually give birth in the box. The idea was to provide a safe place so the cubs could stay in the box until they were strong enough to climb out. However, Lizzy did not give birth in whelping box and it was later removed.

After the birth of the cubs, the new family was left totally alone, with no interruption for as long as possible to allow the new mom to bond with her offspring.

Zoo staff observed, via remote viewing, that the smaller of the females was not nursing or receiving attention from mom. Staff opted to remove the tiny cub from the mix and began to bottle feed her. Keepers initially struggled with this decision; bottle-fed Lions typically lack the maternally taught socialization skills that are vital.

After a week of staff feedings, the cub was placed back in the litter with mom. But, unfortunately, things took another turn for the worse in the saga when Lizzie was no longer able to produce enough milk for all the cubs. The three sisters are now receiving total care from Zoo staff.

For the duration of the winter months, the new cubs are NOT available for viewing. Peoria Zoo will continue to update their web and social media pages with news of the Lion cub’s progress.

It is anticipated they will be on exhibit and available for viewing in the spring.

The ‘Three Little Kings’ of Zoo Basel are Growing Up


The “Three Little Kings” at Zoo Basel are growing up! At almost eight-months-old, the boys are nearly tall as Dad, and their youthful spots (or rosettes) are beginning to fade.

ZooBorns introduced the family to readers this past summer, and you can see pics of their younger days, in that article: “Three New Boys for Zoo Basel’s Lion Pride



4_11872147_968955843142156_7957932688121563886_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Basel

The pride of African Lions, at Zoo Basel, increased by three this past summer. On May 28, Okoa gave birth to two male cubs, and on June 15, Uma delivered another male cub. The two lionesses’ gave birth to their young in the same area and are raising them together. Mbali is father to all three boys and has proven a playful participant in their upbringing.

African Lions are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. There has been an estimated population decline of 30-50%, in the last 20 years. Noted causes for the decline include disease and human interference. Habitat loss and conflicts with humans are considered the most significant threats to the species. The remaining populations are often geographically isolated from one another, which can lead to inbreeding, and consequently, reduced genetic diversity.

Zoo Basel supports the Big Life Foundation, which works in the Amboseli-Tsavo ecosystem in Kenya to protect the Lions. The Zoo is also a participant in the EAZA Endangered Species Breeding Programme for African Lions.

More pics below the fold!

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Introducing Werribee Open Range’s First Lion Cubs

1_Lion Cubs 5- Photo Cormac Hanrahan

Werribee Open Range Zoo, near Melbourne, Australia, has welcomed the arrival of three African Lion cubs.

Born in the early hours of October 20, this is the first litter for mom Nilo, and father Johari, and it is the first Lion birth in Werribee Open Range Zoo’s history.



4_12369009_10153441650573068_4676618566990063375_nPhoto Credits: Images 1,5,7: Cormac Hanrahan / Images 2,3,4: Zoos Victoria / Images 6: Will Watt 

Nilo and her cubs were off display in a special nesting den, with vets and keepers monitoring them closely via a video camera link, for the first few months.

The cubs marked a milestone with their six-week health check. Vets and Keepers were able to weigh and examine each of cubs, checking their heart, lungs, ears, eyes and movement.

Senior Veterinarian Dr. Natalie Rourke said that she was pleased with the health and development of the cubs, “All three cubs are a good, healthy weight and developing as they should. They are moving around well and have started wrestling with one another – which is a great sign they are strong and robust.”

While mum Nilo was enjoying time outside with her pride mates Johari and Nairibi, staff were able to enter the nesting den, to quickly examine, weigh, microchip and vaccinate the cubs. At six weeks, the cubs weighed in at approximately 6.8kg, and staff were also thrilled to finally determine the sex of the cubs – three boys.

Now, at two months of age, the cubs are beginning to explore the world around them, venturing out on public display with mum Nilo for short periods during the day.

At this age, mum’s tail is also a source of great fascination and they love playing amongst logs and branches.

As the cubs grow and develop, Keepers have also been introducing new items such as cardboard tubes, boxes and lots of new scents to encourage discovery and play.

During the day the cubs are also spending time in the dens to rest and to get to know the rest of the pride, including Lioness Nairibi and dad Johari.

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Meet ZooParc de Beauval’s New Lion Cubs


There are two boys, two girls, and …they are two-months-old! Meet the Lion cubs of ZooParc de Beauval, in France.

The healthy cubs were born at the Zoo and have been given the names: Virunga, Atlas, Lawaya, and Tswanga.

The quad of siblings are still too young for the outdoor exhibit. For now, they are sticking close to mom and can be seen through the windows of the Zoo’s Lion House.



4_12371070_1174122749279336_5466431397085401409_oPhoto Credits: Zoo de Beauval / Image 5-"Proud Parents" by Bernadette Cumant

The Lion (Panthera leo) is one of the five big cats in the genus Panthera and a member of the family Felidae. The commonly used term African Lion collectively denotes the several subspecies found in Africa.

Lions do not mate at any specific time of year. The lioness has a gestation period of around 110 days, and generally gives birth to a litter of one to four cubs. Cubs are born blind, and their eyes open about a week after birth.

Usually, the mother does not integrate herself, or her cubs, back into the pride until the offspring are six to eight weeks old. Weaning generally occurs after six to seven months.

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Denver Zoo’s Lion Cubs Make Public Debut


Denver Zoo's two-month-old Lion cubs recently made their public debut in the maternity yard of the Benson Predator Ridge exhibit. Visitors may now see male Kalu (pronounced Kuh-LOO) and female Kamara (pronounced Ka-MAR-uh), along with the rest of the Zoo's lion pride, as they explore their new habitat, weather permitting.

Zookeepers say prime viewing hours will occur between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. The cubs will only be given outdoor access when it is 45 degrees F or warmer.

ZooBorns shared the cub’s birth announcement in late September.



4_lion_cubs_04-a786ef24a9988fd9b0b8300a499ae9fePhoto Credits: Denver Zoo

 The sibling’s names were chosen after an online naming contest, held to thank voters for their support of the Scientific & Cultural Facilities District of Denver, Colorado, which provides nearly one-quarter of the Zoo's annual funding.

The cubs were born to mother, Neliah, and father, Sango, on the morning of September 10. For the last two months, Kalu and Kamara have spent their time behind the scenes, bonding with their mom and adjusting to their new surroundings. The two were later introduced to the rest of the pride, dad Sango and female Sabi. Zookeepers say Sabi has been very attentive to the cubs, while Sango is relatively hands-off. Zookeepers say the five are already behaving as a very cohesive group. They will continue to stay together.

The cubs currently weigh around 20 pounds each and are growing at a rate of two to four pounds per week. While they are still nursing, they recently began consuming solid foods. Zookeepers describe the male cub, Kalu, as playful and energetic, while female, Kamara, is a bit more timid. Regardless, both still enjoy running around and wrestling with each other and other members of the pride.

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