Birth of two more cubs makes it a dozen babies in total for prolific Asian lion pair;
Only 300 Asian lions remain in India’s Gir Forest, the only place where they are found in the wild
Singapore, 9 December 2014 – As a sweet finale to Night Safari’s 20th anniversary this year, endangered Asian lion residents Khapat and Amba gifted the park with two Asian lion cubs, making them the 11th and 12th babies to be born to their prolific parents.
Born on 27 September, the tawny male and female pair was sexed, microchipped and given a round of vaccinations during their veterinary checkup in late November. Visitors can look out for them in upcoming months, when they will be introduced to their older siblings in the Asian lion exhibit along Night Safari’s tram route. For now, they are spending time bonding with mom in the cubbing den at a back of house facility.
Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “It’s always heartening to welcome new babies into our collection, especially at a time when many of the world’s wildlife species are being threatened as a direct result of human-related activities. These births are a valuable addition to an assurance colony of Asian lions under human care, and will help to safeguard against extinction in the wild.”
The Asian lion is a separate subspecies from the African lion. Listed as endangered under the IUCN* Red List, it is smaller in size and sports a less significant mane compared to its African cousin. Most of the wild Asian lion population is found in India’s Gir Forest, a protected sanctuary where about 300 of these magnificent animals roam. Additionally, close to 340 Asian lions live in zoos. Night Safari has 13 lions in its pride, the fourth largest collection under human care.
Night Safari hopes that it will be able to contribute to Asian lion numbers, both wild and under human care, through its captive breeding programme. To date, Night Safari has successfully bred twelve Asian lion cubs, one of which was sent to Denmark’s Aalborg Zoo last June, as part of an animal exchange programme.
Award-winning Night Safari, the world’s first safari park for nocturnal animals, officially celebrated her 20th anniversary in May this year.
*IUCN: International Union for the Conservation of Nature.