What we have learned after one year of having lion cubs!
By Alicia DuBrava
Our African lion pride has really gown in the past year! We started 2016 with Tiberius, Lelie and Lusaka and we quickly added four adorable cubs, Tobias, Asha, Amirah, and Roary. With our new additions, things have really changed. We have a lot more activity in the building as the cubs are busier than their parents and our other adult cats. The cubs continue to hit milestones like gaining weight, being introduced to bigger toys and learning new behaviors, while we as keepers, are learning right along with them. Each cub is starting to show more and more of their individual personality and we continue to learn the differences between them.
Tobias, our oldest and largest cub, is very sure of himself and independent, quickly outgrowing the need for mom. On the other hand, Asha, who has a darker coat and is the smallest of the bunch, is still very needy and doesn’t like to be too far away from mom for too long. Amirah, who looks just like her mom Lusaka, can also be very independent, playing outside with older brother Tobias long after her parents and siblings have come inside. Roary, who has a very light colored coat and large head, is quite relaxed and spends a lot of time resting; getting excited only when there is a new toy or fun enrichment to play with.
The pride spends their days enjoying their habitat and relaxing on the window bench that looks into Eco-Station. You can often see six lions piled on the bench with Tiberius relaxing on the rock kopje (a name used to refer to an isolated rock mountain or hill). The cubs, just like the older lions, sleep most of the day, but can been found running, climbing, and chasing each other when they are awake.
As they quickly approach their first birthdays we are excited and perplexed as we cannot believe how fast they have grown! It seems like just yesterday we were watching on camera to keep track of their nursing routine and then at six weeks old they got their first vet check ups. It’s hard to imagine that they debuted to the public in June and August of 2016 after what seemed like weeks trying to decide on the perfect names for them.
We continue to be in awe of all the adorable things they do each day and we look forward to watching them mature into adults. We hope that the public continues to visit and enjoy our lion family throughout 2017.