Anticipating Easter weekend, zoo keepers at Royal Burgers' Zoo (Arnhem, The Netherlands) treated eight lions to an unusual form of behavioral enrichment. Especially the five lion cubs welcomed the unfertilized swan's eggs as a tasty addition to their normal meals, whereas the male lion seemed to prefer a juicy piece of meat.
Males feed first
Although in nature in most cases the lionesses hunt, the male lion is the first one to feed after the lionesses have managed to kill a prey. At Royal Burgers' Zoo, zoo keepers scatter pieces of meat through the enclosure, so that all lions can feed at the same time after the male lion has claimed the largest piece for itself. In nature, an adult male protects the pride against potential threats and keeps rivals at bay, which attempt to take its throne.
Arnhem's lively lion family
Currently, the lion family living in the Safari of Burgers' Zoo counts eight animals in total: an adult male, two adult females and five cubs in different ages. On 27th July 2020, a lioness gave birth to twins: a male and a female. On 26th November 2020, the other lioness gave birth to triplets: all of them are females. All five cubs will remain in Arnhem for the coming years. In time, the young male will become a rival of its father. At that time, either the adult male, or the young male will have to move to another zoo. In nature, at this point in time, father would simply chase its own son away from the pride.
Healthy and lively lion cubs are preventively vaccinated against cat flu, dewormed and weighed by the zoo vet at Royal Burgers' Zoo
Arnhem, 4th February 2021 - Thursday 4th February 2021 in the early morning, zoo vet Henk Luten preventively vaccinated lion triplets against cat flu at Royal Burgers' Zoo, Arnhem, The Netherlands. The healthy and lively lion cubs were also dewormed and weighed, seizing the opportunity. Very soon the triplets and their mother will be introduced to the other lions in Arnhem: an adult male, a second adult female and two other slightly elder cubs. In total, eight lions will inhabite a large outdoor enclosure.
9.5 weeks of age
The lion triplets were born in Arnhem on 26th November 2020. At 9.5 weeks of age, they received their second and last vaccination against cat flu this morning. All three cubs are female and will remain in Burgers' Zoo for the next couple of years. One of the two elder cubs is a male, the other one is a female. In order to prevent inbreeding, the adult male will probably move to another zoo in a couple of years.
World-famous breeder of lions
Nowadays, breeding lions in zoos is common practice. In the 1960s, however, Royal Burgers' Zoo was world-famous in breeding lions, whereas other zoos were less successful. Already in 1965, one thousand lion cubs had been born in Arnhem! Even the famous roaring 'Leo the Lion' (1957 - until now) of MGM Studios in the USA was born in Royal Burgers' Zoo. Times have changed and zoos nowadays work internationally closely together, sharing experience and know-how easily and readily amongst colleagues. Breeding lions is very successful in zoos at the moment. In nature, lion populations have dropped dramatically in recent decades, unfortunately: WWF estimates a decrease of approximately 40%!
SINGAPORE, 26 January 2021 – Singapore’s very own Simba was born on 23 October 2020. The male lion cub was conceived through assisted reproduction at the Wildlife Healthcare and Research Centre in Singapore Zoo. Keepers and veterinarians worked to collect semen from Simba’s father Mufasa, a geriatric lion, using the process of electro-ejaculation. In a bittersweet twist, the cub will never know his father as the latter was not revived following the procedure. His deteriorating health was a key factor.
African lions in the wild have an average lifespan of 10-14 years. Mufasa lived to the ripe old age of 20 but did not sire any cubs in his lifetime because of his aggressive behaviour which did not bring about successful pairings with any female. Yet his genes would be of high value in contributing to the genetic diversity and sustainability of African lion populations in zoological institutions. This species is listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Thanks to advancements in assisted reproductive technology, Singapore Zoo’s animal care team was able to harness artificial insemination as a means of preserving Mufasa’s bloodline. Lioness Kayla was identified as an ideal candidate for the assisted pregnancy as she was a proven breeder.
Amersfoort Animal Park’s two lion cubs are exploring their outdoor enclosure in for the first time. “They investigate their environment with great curiosity, without skipping a boulder, bush or hill”, says zookeeper Marc Belt. It is an extra special moment, because the lions also meet father Ramzes and aunt Zaila.
“The cubs are clearly enjoying their new environment. One of their favorites is a large pile of leaves in which they romp, ”says Marc. They also find the other lions somewhat interesting. “Zaila and the cubs especially visit each other. It is good to see that father Ramzes is very calm and lets the little ones do their thing. ”
The two female lion cubs were born a few weeks ago and are mother Sabi's first litter. “She acts like an excellent mother and keeps a close eye on her offspring. Even now that the youngsters are taking the first steps outside, she does not lose sight of them for a second. ” In recent weeks, the cubs have been able to get used to their father and aunt from a distance and that went well. In the coming days they will meet their family more often. Unfortunately, Amersfoort Zoo is now closed to visitors due to the lockdown, but hopefully everyone will be able to admire the lions starting January 20.
On November 5, the Santa Barbara Zoo ’s African lion, Felicia, gave birth to her first cub, a female named Pauline. Pauline is a meaningful family name selected by her Premier Foster Feeder sponsors, the Mozilo family. The Mozilos also sponsor the cub’s parents, Felicia and Ralph.
On November 19, the cub became critically ill as she was not getting enough milk from her mother (and became hypothermic and hypoglycemic), so the Zoo’s animal care team made the decision to move her to the veterinary hospital for intensive care, where she has been in the incubator, receiving fluid therapy, and has been learning to nurse formula from a bottle.
“The first month of a lion cub’s life is precarious in terms of survival, particularly when born to a first-time mother,” shared Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care & Health. “Felicia is a young first-time mother and this situation that has occurred with her cub is not uncommon with inexperienced mothers. We are very happy to report that the cub has been responding well to treatment and is now successfully nursing from a bottle. The cub will remain in the hospital for a little longer and then she will move back to the lion holding area so that she can be in close proximity to her parents, Felicia and Ralph, but will continue to be bottle-fed until she is weaned.”
“We’re happy and relieved to know the cub has recovered and is doing well,” shared Rich Block,
President & CEO of the Santa Barbara Zoo. “I’d like to acknowledge our incredible animal care team who expertly handled the birth and the cub’s critical care needs, and continue to provide around-the-clock care for the cub. This is just the kind of warm and fuzzy news we think everybody can appreciate right now, and we look forward to introducing the new cub to everyone soon!”
The Zoo’s animal care staff were strongly suspicious Felicia was pregnant based on her physical
changes and fecal hormone analysis. Lion pregnancies are only approximately 110 days and although pregnancy can be determined by measuring hormone levels in the female's feces, this is not done until 60 days after mating due to the possibility of a pseudo-pregnancy. If the hormone levels are still elevated 60-70 days after mating, then the female is confirmed pregnant.
“We were encouraged from the very beginning to see how quickly and easily Felicia and Ralph bonded, and observed them breeding frequently as soon as they were introduced,” said Barnes. “As lion populations have been steadily declining in the wild, we’re proud to be a part of the conservation efforts of these majestic animals and to know that these lions are a successful breeding pair.”
This is the first cub for both Felicia (two years old) and Ralph (five years old), who arrived at the Zoo this past May. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recommended the pairing of Felicia and Ralph as part of its Species Survival Plan to maintain a sustainable population of lions in North America. As part of the AZA’s cooperative breeding program, the Zoo started the planning process to bring in new lions even before the passing of longtime beloved lion, Chadwick, in December of 2019.
Felicia and the cub will remain behind the scenes for approximately eight weeks before making their official public debut. The Zoo will share viewing information as soon as it becomes available, but in the meantime, the public is encouraged to tune in to the Zoo’s social media channels ( Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter ) for updates.
Support the pride! The public is invited to help welcome the new lion cub by becoming a Foster Feeder sponsor of the African lion. New Foster Feeders at all levels will receive a personalized digital Foster Feeder certificate (includes honoree’s name and lion photo), and recognition on the Foster Feeder board at the Zoo. Various donation levels are available on the website with different, wild benefits! For more information or to become a Foster Feeder, click here: https://sbzoo.pivvit.com/african-lion
About African Lions
African lions are the second largest big cat after tigers and are the only truly social cats. In the wild, they live in groups called prides, which consist of six to seven lions on average. All females in a pride are typically related, and outsiders of either gender are not tolerated. Listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature , their population is steadily decreasing in the wild. In just two decades, populations decreased by 43 percent, and it’s estimated that as few as 23,000 remain today. Threats to lions include habitat loss, poaching, and retaliation killings by farmers attempting to protect their livestock. One of the main causes is the alarming rate at which they are losing their habitats due to expanding human populations and the resulting growth of agriculture, settlements, and roads.
About The Santa Barbara Zoo
The Santa Barbara Zoo is open with limited capacity. Online ticket reservations are required for all guests, including Zoo Members, available at www.sbzoo.org . Known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos, the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to more than 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA endangered species programs for Masai giraffe, California condor, island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others. As a private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Santa Barbara Zoo depends on community support, not tax dollars, for operations and improvements. Visit sbzoo.org .
On Thursday, 26 November 2020, at around 19:30, a lioness at Royal Burgers' Zoo gave birth to triplets.
The first days of life are often critical for large predators, which is why Burgers' Zoo initially provided the animals with as much peace, quiet and space as possible to ensure minimal disturbance.
Arnhem's pride has one adult male and two adult females. One of the lionesses gave birth to twins on 27 July 2020: a male and a female. With the birth of the triplets on 26 November 2020, there will soon be five lion cubs on display at Burgers' Zoo. However, the three newcomers will spend the next few weeks behind the scenes in a separate enclosure with their mother.
Even an iconic predator such as the lion, with few natural enemies other than humans, is becoming less and less common on the African savannahs. Loss of habitat, illegal hunting for trophies or traditional medicine, and human-animal conflict are taking their toll: the number of lions in the wild is drastically decreasing.
Dallas Zoo is pleased to share that their three lion cubs made their first public appearance this morning! The girls, Ilola and Tadala were the first to take the big step out into the habitat. Izwi (male) hung back and observed for a few minutes before following suite. There was plenty of running, jumping, chasing, wresting, tail-biting, and of course, cuteness, as they explored and greeted their adoring fans. The cubs will continue spending time in the habitat and will be out for Zoo guests to see for a few hours each day between bottle