Triplet lion cubs have made their public debut, just a few hundred meters away from a wobbly newborn giraffe, at Dubbo’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
- Three lion cubs and a giraffe calf have made their public debut at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo
- The lions were born in April but spent time away from the public eye to bond with their parents
- The giraffe was born on the weekend in front of zoo guests
It comes after the giraffe was born on the weekend in front of very surprised zoo guests.
The three female lion cubs were born in April but have been kept away from the public until now, to bond with their parents and be vaccinated.
First-time parents Marion and Lwazi accompanied their little ones out of their enclosure where they quickly became the center of attention.
“Keepers and guests loved seeing the cubs climbing the trees and rocks, although Marion appears to be on high alert as a first-time mother with these especially confident cubs,” lion supervisor Justine Powell said.
“The cubs are very adventurous and playful and love having their dad Lwazi out with them to practice their pouncing, stalking and play-fighting skills with.”
The babies are the first lion cubs to be born at the zoo since 2016.
“The last time we bred here, we got four boys so the tides have tuned,” Ms Powell said.
“It’s great because they are easier to manage for us and they make the force of the pride, because the females are the ones who control the pride.”
Finding their teeth
The cubs are now 16 weeks old and are putting on about one kilogram per week.
They are off soft food and enjoying their very first carcasses.
“The cubs have recently progressed from things like mince, that is easy to eat… onto eating carcasses,” Ms Powell said.
“They are pretty much onto an adult diet, just smaller pieces.
“Today they had beef with bone in it, so they are getting used to ripping the meat off the bone.”
Name a cub
Two of the cubs are being named by the zoo’s lion keepers and Taronga Foundation supports.
But the zoo has launched a competition with the public to name the third cub.
The cubs and their parents will be on display daily from 11.15am to 2.15pm, and this will slowly extend as their confidence grows.
“Each of the cubs have very different personalities and we are lovingly observing more of that as the cubs explore their habitat,” Ms Powell said.
Visitors watch giraffe birth
On Saturday, a visitor to the zoo alerted the front desk that a giraffe had just given birth in view of amazed guests.
After struggling to stand, the newborn giraffe needed a nudge from mother Mvita’s gentle hooves to help it find its wobbly legs.
Giraffe keepers agreed that Wayo, meaning “footprint” in Swahili, was a fitting name for the new arrival.
It came just one month after the birth of another giraffe calf at Western Plains Zoo.
Another giraffe at the zoo is also currently pregnant — a positive sign for its breeding program.
The zoo said the species was currently facing “silent extinction” worldwide, and the program aimed to help it bounce back.
Giraffe numbers have been declining in the wild over the past decade due to habitat encroachment, snares, civil unrest and poaching.
The wild population is estimated at less than 117,000, indicating a decline of 40 per cent over 30 years.