Taronga Western Plains Zoo is celebrating major breeding success with the birth of three African Lion cubs, one male and two females, on 28 February 2015.
“This is the first time we have bred Lion cubs here in Dubbo, so you can imagine how excited we are with these three new additions,” said Zoo Keeper Roger Brogan.
The yet to be named cubs are doing well under the watchful eye of first time mother, Maya. Maya is a four year old lioness who arrived at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in 2014 as a breeding mate for resident male, Lazarus.
“The introduction of Maya and Lazarus took place after many months of planning, monitoring and observation,” Roger said.
“To introduce the pair and observe positive mating behaviours almost straight away was fantastic. Then to have Maya progress through her pregnancy and three healthy cubs arrive was amazing. We couldn’t be happier.”
Keepers have been monitoring Maya and her cubs via a video camera link in their den since birth, allowing them time to bond together on their own.
“First time mother Maya is doing a wonderful job with her trio,” Roger said. “She is being very attentive and nurturing. We’re taking a hands-off approach to allow her to fully utilise her natural mothering instincts.”
This week, Zoo veterinarians conducted a health check on each of the cubs to ensure they are growing and developing at a steady rate. The cubs received a clean bill of health and now weigh five kilograms each, compared with approximately two kilograms when they were born.
“Over the coming weeks the cubs will start to try solid food and begin exploring their surrounds more,” said Roger.
The Lion cubs will stay behind-the-scenes for the next six to eight weeks before going on to exhibit for visitors to see.
African Lions are classified as vulnerable in the wild with populations decreasing due to human-animal conflict, depleted prey base and habitat loss.