Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


New cubs pride of the region

New cubs pride of the region

“Extremely cute, increasingly curious, and invaluable to the Australasian region” is how Auckland Zoo keepers describe the latest additions to the pride at Lion Hill, Pridelands.

Two yet to be named cubs (a male and female) were born early last month to first-time mum, two-and-a-half year old Amira.

All three are doing exceedingly well. Both cubs have now more than doubled their birth weights (each tipping the scales at a healthy 5kg) and are getting more inquisitive and adventurous by the day.

"Amira is proving to be a first-class parent," says Pridelands Team Leader Michael Batty. “She's appropriately protective of her offspring, and that means she won't be bringing them outside at Lion Hill until she feels they're ready. She's also a fantastic provider, as their health clearly shows.

Keepers are delighted that the arrival of two young males from South Africa last year, and their subsequent integration with the female pride, has so quickly reaped rewards.

Dad could be either of these males, though keepers have their money on the slightly older Lazarus, not Ngala. Blood samples, to be taken at the cubs' next vet check in a month's time, will confirm parentage.

"Whatever the outcome, it's a win-win situation for the Australasian region," says Mr Batty. "Their bloodlines are fantastic, and completely new for the region."

While both lions were hand-reared at Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn (South Africa), Lazarus is of wild-origin from the Kalahari Desert, and Ngala from parents from Eastern Transvaal outside Kruger National Park. Amira is the daughter of Kura, one of the other two adult females at Lion Hill.

“Lions are classified as vulnerable, with an estimated population size of less than 10,000 mature breeding individuals,” says Auckland Zoo Life Sciences Manager Maria Finnigan.

“That’s a pretty bleak situation, because there is a continuing declining trend due to habitat loss, causing lions to increasingly enter human populated areas where they are not welcome.

This makes co-ordinated zoo-based regional breeding programmes such as ours, just that much more important. Small populations can crash so rapidly and an African habitat without the king of the jungle is a sad prospect,” says Ms Finnigan.

Visitors to Auckland Zoo should not expect to see the cubs outside at Lion Hill until Amira is ready to bring them out. However, from Good Friday 9 April (and throughout the April holidays), there will be the opportunity to see recorded footage via a large television, set up at the Lion Viewing Shelter in Pridelands.

Here at noon (daily) visitors will also be able to chat to the lion cub keeper and get some up-to-the-minute information on how the cubs are doing. In addition, there's the opportunity for visitors to enter a draw (at the Visitors’ Centre) to win one of six special behind the scenes tours to meet the cubs.

Make a cub call Anyone can call 0900 NEW CUBS (639 2827 – calls cost 99c per minute) and enter our naming competition, running until Anzac Day 25 April. Suggest two great names and be in to win a special behind the scenes to meet the cubs and adult lions, a free 'Friends of the Zoo' family pass for a year, and a ‘Best of the Zoo Five' video.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Charlotte Graham: Empowering Communities To Act In A Disaster

The year of record-breaking natural disasters means that in the US, as in New Zealand, there’s a conversation happening about how best to run the emergency management sector and what philosophies best engage and protect communities in the event of a crisis.

How much of the responsibility for a community’s safety in a natural disaster is the Government’s, and how much can be left up to the community themselves? And how do we ensure none of our most vulnerable residents are left behind? More>>


CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need... More>>


Signage, Rumble Strips, Barriers: Boost For State Highway Road Safety

Boost for road safety this summer Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter today announced a short term boost in road safety funding this summer and signalled a renewed focus from the Government on introducing safer speed limits. More>>


Risks & Adaptation: Cheaper To Cut Emissions Than Deal With Climate Change

The cost of climate change to New Zealand is still unknown, but a group of experts tasked with plugging the country's information gaps says it will likely be significant and it would be cheaper to cut greenhouse emissions than simply adapting to those changes. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>





Featured InfoPages