Four endangered lion cubs have been born at Fota Wildlife Park in County Cork.
The four Asian lion cubs were born on February 20th – however the park revealed them to the public today.
The park has yet to reveal the cubs’ genders – and staff are calling on the public to help name them.
It is the second litter for mother Gira and father Shanto – after they welcomed three other cubs a year-and-a-half ago.
Lead Ranger Kelly Lambe said the park is “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 is extremely rare and we are delighted that there are four cubs thriving and they are all feeding and bonding well with Mum Gira.”
The cubs will live in a specially designed habitat at Fota along with their parents, siblings Amira, Arya and Loki and their aunt Gita.
They were vaccinated and weighed yesterday – and all came in at exactly 7.15kg.
Fota said the vast majority of the world’s wild lions live in sub-Saharan African – with Asian lions an important exception.
The Gir forest in India has been designated as a protected reserve for the species.
You can help Fota name the new cubs – and put yourself in with a chance to win a year-long Conservation Annual Pass – by logging on to www.fotawildlife.ie/blog.