Lion

Help Lion Conservation by Voting for New Cub’s Name

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The Virginia Zoo’s new African Lion cub needs a name, and the Zoo is asking for your help! By submitting and voting on potential names, you’ll also be helping to save Lions in their native Africa.

The naming contest began Monday, December 11 at 9 am and will conclude on Friday, December 22 at Noon. Participants can submit a name to the contest by paying $1. Each subsequent vote for a name is $1. The name with the most votes wins and will be announced on Christmas morning.

The Virginia Zoo will donate 100-percent of the naming contest proceeds to the Pride Lion Conservation Alliance (pridelionalliance.org), which leads efforts in four key Lion ranges, researching and protecting 20-percent of Africa’s existing wild Lion population.

“Now is your chance to name the cub and help to secure a future for all Lions!” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo.

To cast a vote, visit: www.virginiazoo.org/lion-cub-naming.

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4_IMG_2131Photo Credits: Virginia Zoo 

The male cub was born on October 28 to experienced mom, Zola, and dad, Mramba. The cub weighed just three pounds-five ounces at birth and was an immediate joy to all his keepers.

The cub now weighs approximately 12 pounds. According to keepers, he climbs in and out of his nest box, chases mom’s tail, and has been exploring his enclosure.

“The birth of any animal is always exciting,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo. “The birth of this Lion cub specifically is a significant contribution to its genetic population and also provides a fun educational opportunity to our community.”

Thirteen-year-old Zola gave birth in her indoor den in the Zoo’s Africa-Okavango Delta exhibit. According to keepers, she immediately displayed natural instincts of nursing and grooming the cub. Routine physical exams will be performed as the cub grows, and he will receive vaccinations to strengthen his immune system before going out on exhibit.

For more information, visit: www.virginiazoo.org .

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Three Bundles of Joy Arrive at the Pueblo Zoo

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The Pueblo Zoo recently announced the arrival of three “precocious, bundles of joy”. African Lioness, Mashavu, gave birth to the two females and one male on October 25. The trio was sired by Taz Jahari (father of Pueblo Zoo’s ‘Mumford’).

The cubs have been under the watch and care of their mother. At their first checkup, in November, the male and two females weighed 9.5 lbs., 9.3 lbs., and 7.9 pounds, respectively.

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2_DSC01484Photo Credits: Ashley Bowen

The Zoo is excited to be able to share video and photos of the cubs as they grow and will be posting regular updates to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Once they are vaccinated and ready to brave the outdoors, the cubs will be given access (weather permitting) to the outdoor Lion enclosure in late December.

Continue reading "Three Bundles of Joy Arrive at the Pueblo Zoo" »


Blank Park Zoo’s Lioness Has Her Paws Full

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Iowa’s Blank Park Zoo recently announced that their Lioness, Neema, had successfully given birth to three cubs! Two females and one male were born on November 14.

The cubs have been spending time bonding with mom. At their first physical on November 20th, they individually weighed 1.46 kg, 1.37 kg and 1.2 kg.

“Neema has been a very attentive and protective mother to the cubs,” said Dr. June Olds, chief veterinary programs officer. “We suspect the cubs were a bit underweight at their first physical because it was a large litter.”

Staff has been supplementing the feeding of the smallest cub, the male, because he is currently a week behind in growth compared to the other cubs, and his condition is considered guarded. “We are going to continue to evaluate his milestones and supplement him as needed. I am very impressed that ‘Neema’ has been allowing us to do that,” said Olds.

Two other cubs, born four hours after the initial three, failed to thrive and unfortunately did not survive.

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4_IMG_1982Photo Credits: Blank Park Zoo

Blank Park Zoo staff never goes directly into areas with dangerous animals such as Lions. For the keepers to attend to the cubs and perform exams, Neema had to ‘shift’ to another room.

Blank Park Zoo’s male lion, Deuce, arrived at the zoo in 2012. Neema and another female, Kadi, arrived at the zoo’s Tom and Jo Ghrist Great Cats Complex in June of this year from the Santa Barbara Zoo. The Lions are part of the Species Survival Plan. Deuce and Neema were given a breeding recommendation by the SSP.

“As we see populations of Lions declining in their natural habitats, these cubs will play an important role in saving Lions for the future,” said Mark Vukovich, CEO. “The population of Lions has decreased by more than 40 percent in the past 20 years.”

The cubs and Neema are still spending quality time together and are not currently available to be seen by visitors. Before visitors will be allowed to see them, the cubs must go through a series of vaccinations, which will take a few months. Blank Park Zoo will be setting up some remote viewing options for visitors in the coming weeks.

Zoo officials will be releasing plans for naming the cubs in the coming days, as well.

Blank Park Zoo will be giving a donation to the *Ruaha Carnivore Project in honor of the cubs. A portion of every dollar spent at Blank Park Zoo is used to help save animals in their natural habitats.

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Zoo’s New Lion Cub Bonds With Foster Mom

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Idaho Falls Zoo is thrilled to announce the extraordinary birth of a male African Lion cub! The cub was born February 17 to first-time parents, Kimani and Dahoma.

“Unfortunately, shortly after his birth, the cub had to be removed from his mom to be treated for a medical issue. We are pleased to report that he has completely recovered and is almost ready to be returned to his mother,” states Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. Rhonda Aliah.

Because of the advanced age of the parents and the unique genetics of the couple, this adorable little guy is extremely important to the captive African Lion population in North American zoos. Although reintroducing this genetically valuable cub to his parents is essential for his development, the process is not simple or straightforward.

To lessen any risk, the cub will be returned to his mother when he is bigger and more mobile. The AZA and other zoo professionals explored all possible options for the cub. “Everyone agreed that the only option available was to keep the cub at the Idaho Falls Zoo and eventually reintroduce him to his parents,” states Aliah.

When the time comes for the cub to re-join his family, a Lion manager from the Denver Zoo, who has experience with conducting these types of reintroductions and who serves as an advisor to the AZA’s Lion SSP, will be onsite during the reintroduction. The Lion manager will help interpret behaviors and guide zoo staff during what will be a very stressful and potentially dangerous, yet important, time in the cub’s life.

In the meantime, the cub needs to be socialized. Lions are the most social of the big cat species, and sociability is incredibly important for behavioral and psychological reasons. Young cubs rely on other members of their pride to teach them how to be adults. A cub that has been away from his parents is at risk for not being easily accepted back into the pride and could be injured or killed when reintroduced.

So, how do you keep a Lion cub social without being around other Lions? ...meet Justice, another new member of the zoo family.

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20170419_083024_resizedPhoto Credits: Idaho Falls Zoo (Images 1 & 4) / City of Idaho Falls News (Images 2,3,5)

Justice is a not a lion, but a Great Pyrenees with wonderful mothering instincts. Two-year-old Justice is a rescue dog that has had at least one litter of puppies. When rescued, representatives with the Humane Society of the Upper Valley found her alone caring for her puppies, as well as a weak sheep. Her puppies have all been rehomed, and now Justice has a new role: nursemaid to a rambunctious two-month old African Lion cub!

Zoo Curator, Darrell Markum, explains, “An important aspect of animal development, particularly with baby carnivores, is having an adult animal teach ‘animal etiquette.’ This includes not biting other animals hard enough to injure them and not using your claws to climb on your elders. Justice is a very patient teacher.”

Given the unique situation, the use of domestic dogs to raise young carnivores is an accepted practice in modern zoos.

Continue reading "Zoo’s New Lion Cub Bonds With Foster Mom" »


Dallas Zoo's Lion Cub Is The "Lucky One"

_MG_3108-Lion cub-w-logoThe Dallas Zoo is thrilled to announce the birth of the first African Lion in more than 40 years.

The female cub, named Bahati Moja, was born on March 17.  Bahati Moja means “lucky one” in Swahili, a fitting name for a cub born on St. Patrick’s Day and who has overcome considerable odds to enter the world.

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Photo Credit: Dallas Zoo

Bahati Moja’s mother, Lina, had previously delivered stillborn cubs. The zoo’s veterinary team assisted Lina to ensure a successful outcome, and Bahati Moja is now called a “miracle baby” by the zoo staff.

As a result of the professionalism and dedication of the keepers and veterinary staff, Bahati Moja is developing right on schedule as she bonds with Lina in the den.  Keepers report that the little cub is nursing, gaining weight, and getting feisty.  Mom and cub will remain behind the scenes for a few months before venturing into the Lion habitat.

African Lions (and their counterparts, Asiatic Lions) once dwelled across most of Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.  Today, Asiatic Lions have nearly vanished from the wild, and African Lions’, once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, have dwindled to as few as 20,000 individuals.  African Lions are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

 


One, Two Three, Four Little Lion Cubs

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A litter of four male African Lion cubs born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on November 19 is out of the den and playing outside. 

The yet-to-be-named cubs are doing very well under the watchful eye of their mother Maya and are developing on schedule.  This is the second litter of cubs for Maya and her mate Lazarus.  Their last litter was born in February 2015. 

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Photo Credit:  Rick Stevens



Though the family has been secluded in their den for the last two months, keepers monitored them via a video camera link.  By staying hands-off, keepers gave Maya and her babies time to bond.  Because Maya is an experienced mother, keepers had confidence in her ability to care for four cubs. 

The cubs recently had their first health check and received their first vaccinations.  All four had a clean bill of health.  At birth, each cub weighed about three pounds; they now weigh about 18 pounds each. 

The cubs have just started sampling solid foods and exploring outside their den behind the scenes. 

African Lions are classified as Vulnerable in the wild with populations decreasing due to human-animal conflict, depleted prey base, and habitat loss.

Continue reading "One, Two Three, Four Little Lion Cubs" »


Lion Cub 'Roars' His Way Into Zoo’s Heart

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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.”

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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 ).

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Lion Triplets Are Three Times the Fun

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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.

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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

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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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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

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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. 

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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.