Taronga Western Plains Zoo welcomed four male Lion cubs to our pride on 19 November, bringing our total number of Lions to nine. All four cubs are doing extremely well and over the past 13 weeks they have grown from between 1.5 – 2.0 kg to now 13 - 15 kg. This is the second litter for five year old mum Maya, having previously given birth to three cubs on the 28 February 2015. Both litters were sired by fifteen year old, Lazarus.
Keepers have been working closely with the cubs to build a rapport from a young age, which enables us to weigh them weekly and keep close tabs on their early health. This process of working closely with them will continue until they are 20 weeks old.
After being separated from Maya just prior to birth, Lazarus has been re-introduced to mum and cubs. He is a very laid back dad, letting the cubs climb all over him while he lays on the ground.
Recently we have been working on introducing the two female sub-adults back into the pride.
Two year old Makaeba has integrated really well. Her sister Zuri, however, is still a little unsure of herself and the cubs. Every time Zuri looks like she might over step the mark with the cubs, Maya intervenes, as is normal for a lioness with cubs within a pride. In order to give Maya time to establish the ground rules with Zuri, we are giving both a little bit more time together in the morning before we release Lazarus into the exhibit. He is normally introduced to the pride mid morning.
Having so many Lions on exhibit will certainly be an impressive sight for visitors to see, as this will be the first time the Zoo has had a pride this big with animals of varying ages.
By Keeper, Gregory Kirk