Posted on 26th July 2022 by Media Relations
Three female cubs pawed their way into the hearts of visitors as they made their public debut and took pride of place at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. First time parents, Marion and Lwazi accompanied their first litter and quickly became the mane attraction with their inquisitive trio.
“Keepers and guests loved seeing the cubs climbing the trees and rocks, although Marion appears to be on high alert as a first-time mother with these especially confident cubs,” explained Lion Supervisor, Justine Powell.
“The cubs are very adventurous and playful and love having their dad Lwazi out with them to practice their pouncing, stalking and play fighting skills with.”
Two of the three cubs are being named by the Zoo’s Lion Keepers and Taronga Foundation supporters. The Zoo has launched a naming competition that is now underway for members of the public to vote for the name of the third cub. Details of the naming competition can be found on the Zoo’s website and social media pages.
The trio of female lion cubs were born on 7 April 2022 in a major breeding success for the species. This is the first litter of cubs born at the Zoo since 2016 and the first born to new breeding pair, Marion and Lwazi, injecting important genetic diversity into the regional breeding program.
“The now sixteen-week-old female cubs are all very healthy, putting on approximately 1kg per week and transitioning well onto a meat diet. Each of the cubs have very different personalities and we are loving observing more of that show as the cubs explore their habitat.”
“Marion has been an outstanding first-time mother and it has been a privilege to watch how attentive she is with her first litter. Equally, Lwazi has been very excitable and playful with the cubs but also incredibly gentle, especially considering his considerable size and strength difference.”
The arrival of the cubs is an important milestone for the regional breeding program, as the union of Marion and Lwazi introduces a new genetic line. Seven-year-old Marion arrived at the Zoo in 2018 from the United States and was joined by Lwazi, aged 4 years, in 2021. The pair were introduced last year.
Guests will be able to see Marion, Lwazi and the cubs in their Lion Pride Lands home between 11:15am-2:15pm daily, with this extending in duration as the cubs’ confidence increases in the coming weeks.
African Lions are classified as vulnerable in the wild with populations decreasing due to human-animal conflict, depleted prey base and habitat loss.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a powerhouse of conservation, leading the way to save some of Australia’s most threatened wildlife from extinction, from Regent Honeyeaters to the iconic Greater Bilby, while also supporting global conservation programs for species like the Black Rhinoceros. As a not-for-profit organisation, every dollar spent at the zoo directly contributes to the success of the incredible conservation programs which are for the wild.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is located in Dubbo in Central West NSW. For more information about the Zoo visit: taronga.org.au/dubbo