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Buffalo Zoo lion pride continues to grow


Wed, Jun 29th 2016 04:25 pm
Buffalo Zoo African lion cubs.
Buffalo Zoo African lion cubs.

The Buffalo Zoo welcomes the birth of three African lion cubs to first-time mother Lusaka and Tiberius, now a father of four.

Buffalo Zoo President and CEO Dr. Donna Fernandes announced the birth of three African lions - for the second time in just as many months. The litter, born May 12 at the zoo, is comprised of two females and one male.

The nearly 8-week-old cubs are the first for mother Lusaka (6) and Tiberius (3), now a father four times over. Both adult lions are the offspring of native African lions and were paired as a result of a species survival plan recommendation.

Lusaka was born at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in 2010, and Tiberius was born at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester in 2013. They arrived to Buffalo in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

"We were so excited to share the news at the end of April about Tobias, our first lion cub in 25 years, so the media and the public can imagine our excitement at sharing the news about three more cubs and our growing lion pride," Fernandes expressed.

Tobias made his public debut on Father's Day, and has not disappointed visitors as he navigates the large boulders and other elements of the exhibit in an effort to be as nimble as his parents.

The cubs recently underwent their first health check-up and weighed-in between 11 and 13 pounds. Unlike Tobias, who was bottle-fed with formula through the protective mesh enclosure, the new cubs have been fed exclusively by their mother, with the only human interaction occurring at their health screening.

"The overall comparison between the experiences of each lioness underscores the fact that each case is different," Fernandes said. "We are simply thrilled at our ability to contribute to conservation efforts of the species through public awareness and the family experience."

The next steps for lion-keeper staff are to complete introductions of the lionesses and all four cubs, with a final introduction of Tiberius to the entire pride. Once this process is completed, and unless completed sooner, it is expected the newest cubs will make their public debut in August. In the meantime, the Buffalo Zoo will keep the public updated through its social media pages, including any decisions concerning how the cubs will be named.

African lions are classified as vulnerable in the wild by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service takes a stronger stance, classifying the African lion as endangered. Loss of habitat and poaching are among the key causes of this classification. Every cub born and successfully reared will make a difference.

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