CINCINNATI (January 20, 2015) – The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s three lion cubs, born November 13, 2014 to three-year-old mother “Imani” and four-year-old father “John,” got their first health checkup today. The Zoo’s veterinary staff and animal care team weighed the feisty felines, administered vaccines and determined that all cubs are female!
Now that genders are known, the cubs’ keepers are looking forward to not calling them cub #1, #2 and #3! The Zoo is inviting friends and followers to suggest names via Facebook and Twitter, using #CZBGLionCubs. A recent blog post, Lion Keeper’s Blog: Meet the Cubs!, by Wendy Rice describes the cubs’ personalities and could provide inspiration for name ideas.
“The three cubs behaved just as you would expect during their first wellness physical. Being handled by strange two-legged creatures who poked and examined them, all the while being separated from the safety and security of mom, the cubs hissed and tried to get away,” said Josh Charlton, Curator of Mammals.
According to vet staff, the cubs are healthy and right on track with weights of 8.28kg, 9.24kg, and 9.68kg. The next big step will be to introduce John to Imani and the cubs. “The introduction process has already begun. John and the cubs have had positive interactions during several nose-to-nose “howdy mesh” sessions in the past two weeks. We’ll continue to monitor their behavior and will put the pride together when the time is right,” said Charlton.
“African lions in the wild are disappearing at an alarming rate. These cubs will be great ambassadors for their species and inspire people to act for wildlife,” said Thane Maynard, Executive Director of the Cincinnati Zoo. “We look forward to seeing the whole lion family out in the Africa exhibit together this spring.”
Imani was born at the St. Louis Zoo and came to the Cincinnati Zoo as the result of a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) Lion Species Survival Program (SSP). She was introduced to John earlier this year, and this is the first litter for both of them.
Lions are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as the result of climate change, hunting and habitat loss. Following a review of the best available scientific information, on October 27, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the African lion as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency’s analysis found that lions are in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.
Helping Lions Thrive in Kenya’s South Rift Valley
Cincinnati Zoo supports Rebuilding the Pride, a community-based conservation program that combines Maasai tradition and modern technology to restore a healthy lion population while reducing the loss of livestock to lions in Kenya’s South Rift Valley. A few weeks before #CZBGLionCubs were born, a lioness named Namunyak gave birth to a litter of three. That the population is growing in the South Rift Valley at a time when lion populations are severely declining across the continent overall is significant and a testament to program’s community-based approach. Follow #SORALOLionCubs for updates on #CZBGLionCubs’ wild counterparts. (photo: Guy Western)