A South West Zoo reveals the first photos of two new-born cubs; the first African lion cubs born in the UK since 2015. With African lions given a ‘vulnerable’ status by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), the zoo is celebrating these precious arrivals. (A species declared as ‘vulnerable’ faces a high risk of extinction in the wild within the next 100 years.)
The new cubs, which are yet to be named, were born at Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm on the outskirts of Bristol on 20th August. Their mother, lioness Arusha, has never successfully reared a litter of cubs until now, and the keepers are giving her space to raise the cubs without intervention, allowing the precious ‘mother and cub bonds’ to develop.
The birth was also special, as Arusha chose not to give birth in a den specially prepared by her keepers, and instead created her own shelter outside, as she would in the wild.
Emma Godsell, Lion Keeper at Noah’s Ark, said, “We are thrilled at the two boisterous additions to our lion pride. Arusha has been a very protective mother to the two cubs, keeping them sheltered in her den. It has been wonderful to watch the mother and cubs bonding over the last few weeks. What makes it even more special, is that the cubs were also born the day before lioness Arusha’s birthday.”
Arusha arrived at Noah’s Ark in March 2014 and was paired up with the zoo’s male Lion, Masai, who was one of the first lions to arrive at the Zoo. The couple have been together for four years.
The two cubs will be sexed in the next few weeks. The father, 10 year old Masai, is currently separated from Arusha and the two the cubs in another enclosure. The cubs will be reunited with their father when they reach certain developmental goals.