Fota announces birth of endangered lion cubs

Fota announces birth of endangered lion cubs
Picture: Darragh KAne

Fota Wildlife Park in Cork has announced the birth of four Asian lion cubs (Panthera leo persica).

The cubs were born in February to second-time parents, mother Gira and father Shanto.

The eight-week-old cubs were born along with a fifth cub who was stillborn. The new cubs join their parent’s first litter who are now one and a half years old – Amira, Arya and Loki and aunt Gita in their specially designed habitat in Fota Wildlife Park.

As yet the cubs are unsexed and unnamed and Fota Wildlife Park is calling on the public to help name them.

Lead Ranger Kelly Lambe said they are thrilled with the arrival of this litter.

"This species is endangered and now inhabits only one remaining site in the world – the Gir Forest, in India, which means that wildlife parks and zoos play a crucial role in safeguarding the species and maintaining the genetic diversity outside of the pocket of the wild population

"Unfortunately, one of the cubs was stillborn however, five in a litter in extremely rare and we are delighted that there are four cubs thriving.

"It’s Gira’s second litter with our male lion, Shanto, and she is a protective mum. We vaccinated and weighted them all yesterday and they all weight exactly the same – 7.15kg.”

Asian lion cubs born in Fota Wildlife Park, 2019

Fota Wildlife Park opened the Asian Sanctuary in 2015, and it is now home to some of Asia's most endangered species such as the Indian rhino, the Sumatran tiger and the Asian lion.

The pride of Asian lions at Fota Wildlife Park features the male Shanto, aged eight, who came from Zoo de Santillana in Spain and two sisters Gira and Gita, both aged five, who came from Helsinki Zoo in Finland in the summer of 2016.

The pride was added in to in August 2017 with the birth two females and a male cub - Amira, Arya and Loki.

Almost all the world’s population of wild lions live in sub-Sharan Africa except for the Asian lion which inhabits the Gir Forest in India which is now a reserve for this endangered species.

Fota Wildlife Park participates in the European Endangered Species Breeding Programme (EEP) for Asian lions. There are now only 500 Asian lions living in the wild.

Fota Wildlife Park is set on 100 acres in the heart of Cork Harbour and is open daily from 10am.

It is a non- profit conservation organisation and is part of the Zoological Society of Ireland.

More on this topic

Fota Island ask the public to name two baby macaque monkeys Fota Island ask the public to name two baby macaque monkeys

Fota Wildlife Park first to get autism-friendly accreditationFota Wildlife Park first to get autism-friendly accreditation

Fota Wildlife Park becomes first autism friendly attraction in IrelandFota Wildlife Park becomes first autism friendly attraction in Ireland

Fota Arboretum among the Irish gardens and parks recognised with International Green FlagsFota Arboretum among the Irish gardens and parks recognised with International Green Flags


More in this Section

'Significant fire' at Dublin industrial estate put out after gas main ruptures'Significant fire' at Dublin industrial estate put out after gas main ruptures

€250k Lotto Plus 2 draw won€250k Lotto Plus 2 draw won

Seizure of container load of smuggled cigarettes in Co Armagh leads to cross-border investigation Seizure of container load of smuggled cigarettes in Co Armagh leads to cross-border investigation

National Treatment Purchase Fund must be extended, Fianna Fáil say, as 200k wait for scansNational Treatment Purchase Fund must be extended, Fianna Fáil say, as 200k wait for scans


Lifestyle

Even in the drug-filled, debauched annals of the rock and roll memoir, Mark Lanegan's Sing Backwards And Weep stands out.Mark Lanegan: Drugs, Liam Gallagher and me

Donal Dineen was the man who first brought David Gray and many other emerging artists to our ears. He’s had a lower profile in recent years, but has returned with a new podcast, writes Eoghan O’SullivanDonal Dineen: Pushing the buttons on a new podcast

Is there are science to back up some of the folklore we have grown up with?Appliance of Science: If a cow sits down does that mean it will rain?

This time last year Whiddy Island in West Cork was bustling with people who had caught the ferry for the short trip from Bantry to ramble the island’s boreens as part of the Bantry Walking Festival. Not so this year.Islands of Ireland: Whiddy in the same boat

More From The Irish Examiner