At the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC a female lion gave birth to four cubs. The staff was excited by the births because they want to carefully expand their lion group from the three adults currently living there. Some months ago, another newborn cub had died from an infection, so it was very welcome news when four new ones arrived.
The zoo’s director, Dennis Kelly said, “These cubs symbolize hope for the Zoo and for conservation programs. They will help build healthy, genetically diverse populations and contribute greatly to their species’ survival.” (Source: National Zoo) There is concern that not all the four newborns will survive, and the staff are watching them very closely. You can follow the lion cubs progress on the zoo’s site, or on their Facebook page.
Wild lions in Africa are considered vulnerable. Their population dropped by about 50 percent since the 1950s. Habitat loss and hunting killed many. A disease called distemper also caused many to perish. It is possible with climate change, even more lions will die as drought causes the disease to spread more quickly.
Image Credit: Robin Hunter