Friday, October 02, 2015

Four Rare White Lion Cubs Born at the Toronto Zoo

The great news just keeps coming from the Toronto Zoo. Makali, the Zoo's four year old female white lion gave birth to four cubs last week - two cubs on Saturday, September 26, 2015 and two cubs on Sunday, September 27, 2015. Mom and babies are doing well, and everyone seems healthy. Zoo staff will continue to monitor them closely over the next month to ensure everyone stays well.

Makali and her cubs are currently in a maternity area of the lion habitat in the African Savanna area of the Zoo and are not yet on public display. Makali and Fintan (father) are both four years old and this is their first litter of cubs.

For a glimpse of mom and babies, check out this video. Reminds me of my nursing days with a newborn - half asleep, lying on my side in bed while he helped himself to milk :)

Lions are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. There has been up to a 30% to 50% decline of wild lion populations over the past two decades and this decline will continue if conservation efforts are not put in place. The main enemy - humans. Habitats are in decline as humans move in, and prey is becoming more scarce. Lions are coming in closer contact with humans, and when they begin to prey on livestock they become a problem for farmers who will shoot or poison them to protect their own livelihoods. Closer contact with domestic animals also means lions in the wild have become exposed to new diseases, which also are taking their toll on populations.

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