Taronga Zoo Sydney is celebrating the safe arrival of five African lion cubs with the launch of a new behind-the-scenes live stream.
The adorable cubs are the first of their species to be born at the zoo in more than 18 years and, in a sweet coincidence, they arrived on their dad’s fourth birthday.
Mum and dad, Maya and Ato, welcomed the two males and three females offspring on Thursday August 12.
And the zoo said the baby big cats are “absolutely puuuurfect” at five weeks old.
Carnivore Unit Supervisor Louise Ginman said the youngsters are doing well and the new pride is a joy to behold.
“Maya is a very attentive, nurturing and relaxed mother. Her labour went off without a hitch and we couldn’t be happier with the maternal behaviours that we are observing”, Ms Ginman said.
“Now weighing between 5-6 kilograms compared to approximately 1.5 kilograms at birth, each cub is growing and developing beautifully with mum Maya ensuring each cub is suckling and feeding well.”
Due to coronavirus lockdowns, the public are not able to visit the youngsters in person, but the zoo has come up with a solution.
The cubs, which are part of a vulnerable species, have been monitored via CCTV cameras since their birth and live with their mum in a special maternity den.
And for those who wish they could get a glimpse inside, Taronga Conservation Society Australia CEO Cameron Kerr has some good news.
“In a first for Taronga, we are giving our community access to meet these five precious cubs and bringing them along on the journey from the very beginning.”, Mr Kerr said.
“With a donation of just $7 you are supporting our work at Taronga’s two zoos and our on-the-ground work in Northern Kenya -one of six native homelands of the African Lion.”
And in more good news, the donation is tax-deductible.
The zoo said their lions are “important ambassadors for their species”, and help to raise money and awareness for their wild cousins.
Baby fever at the zoo
The announcement comes just days after Taronga’s Dubbo counterpart, Western Plains Zoo, revealed more happy additions to the family.
On Tuesday, the zoo posted photos of a fresh trio of meerkat pups, to the delight of its supporters.
But the tiny meerkats were not the only new arrivals to Taronga Western Plains. The public was informed on Sunday that the zoo had also welcomed twin baby bilbies as part of a successful breeding program.