Story By: Biljana Bozhinovska, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Video Credit: CEN/@parquemetminvu
These are the four cute lion cubs which have been presented to the public in a zoo after they were born by surprise because the zookeepers did not know their mother was pregnant.
The cubs have now been presented to the public at the National Zoo in the Chilean capital Santiago after they were born in November 2019.
According to zoo employees, the birth of the lion cubs was a surprise to everyone as they never suspected that lioness Rita was expecting.
The personnel in charge of the lions mistakenly though that Jaime, the only male lion at the zoo, would not be old enough to father cubs until he was 4 or 5 years old.
Alejandra Montalba, Director of the National Zoo, said: “We were not expecting this lion cubs that early, because the reproductive period for male lions comes at around the age of five, and Jaime, the father of the cubs, is only three years old.”
However, according to the conservation group Lion Alert that only applies in the wild, and in fact male lions become sexually mature at around 26 months old.
However, they point out that in the wild, they would still most likely be unable to breed because they were not large enough to fight off more mature males to become the leader of the pride.
As a result they tend to only father comes when they reach the age of four or five. The organisation highlighted the case for example at the Kruger National Park where the average age of first conception for a male line was 48 months with 29 per cent siring cubs at 40 months.
The zoo authorities said that the cubs have adjusted well to their environment and to the other lions sharing the enclosure.
“We are occupied with providing food for Rita, the cub’s mum, because they depend on her. They cannot have better care than their mum’s”, Montalba added.
According to the National Zoo’s website, lions can have up to six cubs in a litter, with litters usually containing three to four cubs. Lions usually live between 12 and 15 years, but they can reach 30 if living in captivity.
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