A five-week-old brother-and-sister Lion cub duo is thriving under the care of zoo keepers at the Maryland Zoo.
Their mother died unexpectedly just few days after giving birth but thanks to round-the-clock care from the zoo staff, the cubs are in excellent health and are becoming more playful every day. The cubs’ teeth are starting to come in, and keepers have started to introduce meat into their daily diet.
The cubs’ birth is the result of a recommendation from the Lion Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs provide breeding recommendations to maximize genetic diversity, with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the captive population and the health of individual animals. Lions are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature because their wild population has declined significantly over the past 50 years. Only about 32,000 individuals remain in the wild, down from over 100,000 in the mid-20th century. [article]